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宗教对话:佛教缺席
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老黄
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来自: 太平 --〉关丹

帖子发表于: 21-03-09 星期六 10:56 pm    发表主题: 引用并回复

老黄 写到:
明天(3月20日)轮到彭亨州马来西亚大学University Malaysia Pahang主办宗教对话。

这一次,他们邀请老黄过去。
明天9.00am-6.00pm,UMP来场伊斯兰教、佛教、天主教、兴都教的对话。


发这个主题的目的好像是不甘愿没有被邀请。
结果今天得偿所愿了……

Picture:Click to zoom

Picture:Click to zoom
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kenlim1982



注册时间: 2008-12-28
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来自: 玻璃市加央

帖子发表于: 21-03-09 星期六 11:12 pm    发表主题: 引用并回复

主办单位好像请到很不甘愿酱...
这样子的谬误...

Picture:Click to zoom
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老黄
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来自: 太平 --〉关丹

帖子发表于: 22-03-09 星期日 12:24 am    发表主题: 引用并回复

kenlim1982 写到:
主办单位好像请到很不甘愿酱...
这样子的谬误...


请别怪他们……
因为他们已经非常尽力做好。
“无知”或“不知”都不是错,“不学”或“不做”才是“谬误”。

其实,这一次的活动可以举行,还是归功这位仁兄Yusof:
Picture:Click to zoom
他是国际回教大学的学生,上次举行的宗教对话,就是他一手策划(Project Manager)。他说在其他地方已经有举办类似的对话,但是在关丹却不曾有。他在回教大学带动之后,又催生了UMP的宗教对话,而且还拔刀相助,前来帮他们担任主持人(Moderator)。

这一回的筹备工作,是远远不及回教大学的那一场的。
筹备时间也不够,所以给人家“乱”的感觉。
但是他们还是很用心地去做好它。

在导入时,他们展示的幻灯片放映也出现错误,出现的是buddis。
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老黄
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来自: 太平 --〉关丹

帖子发表于: 22-03-09 星期日 1:01 am    发表主题: 引用并回复

想过是否要改标题,因为这一次佛教不再缺席。

不过,当我想要找一张自己的照片来show一下时,竟然没有。
我除了孤身作战外,会长何振森还特地安排了一组人前来作宣传:

Picture:Click to zoom

Picture:Click to zoom

此外,不再有拉拉队。
佛青都在忙着办管家琪的讲座,无暇抽空过来。

其实,UMP有华裔学生数百人,他们虽在关丹,但是却不知道关丹有个万佛殿……
我们进来,还有个神圣的任务就是向他们推介彭亨佛教会,并希望可以吸引一些华裔大学生出外参加佛教会的活动。

还好,我们的这一番宣传,还真吸引了一些大专生对参与“国民服务营”的佛学课程的兴趣。
这里的大学生也大力向我们推介他们参与的全国升学辅导工作。我们欢迎他们借用万佛殿办升学讲座,协助关丹区SPM/STPM的毕业生规划他们的升学生涯。
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老黄
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来自: 太平 --〉关丹

帖子发表于: 22-03-09 星期日 1:22 am    发表主题: 引用并回复

主持人尤索夫在类似的宗教对话中是积累了不少经验的,所以他主持的过程是叫人满意的。

同样的,他也用了现场抽签的方式来决定演讲序。结果,很巧的,我们的出场序就按我们的座位排下去,依序是——兴都教、佛教、基督教、伊斯兰教。

兴都教代表Raja Gopal先生发言:

Picture:Click to zoom


Picture:Click to zoom
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老黄
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来自: 太平 --〉关丹

帖子发表于: 22-03-09 星期日 1:26 am    发表主题: 引用并回复

老黄发言,没有照片。 Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

其实主办方很热情,坚持安排技术人员帮我们处理幻灯片的放映,这倒叫老黄感到不太适应。因为我的讲座一向是我自己来控制。
所以最终我选择在台下演讲,自己控制电脑。

瞧瞧基督教Joel牧师要转头看屏幕的情况,还真滑稽。

Picture:Click to zoom

Joel牧师很有福相,耳朵好大!

Picture:Click to zoom
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老黄
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来自: 太平 --〉关丹

帖子发表于: 22-03-09 星期日 1:32 am    发表主题: 引用并回复

眼利的应该发现,代表伊斯兰教的是Mr Lim Jooi Soon,华裔穆斯林。
他的情况比较特殊,因为虽然皈依伊斯兰十年,却坚持用自己的名字。据他说,改名字其实就是一种误解(salah tanggapan),所以他向国家伊斯兰教中心争取保留名字。

一个很有趣的现象:

上回代表伊斯兰教的是印裔穆斯林,他标榜自己是从兴都教改信伊斯兰教的。
这一回的代表则是华裔穆斯林,他强调他原本是基督教徒。

他们的演说有一个共同点,就是不靠向讲台。

Picture:Click to zoom

而且表达能力非常强,演说七情上脸,很有听众缘:

Picture:Click to zoom
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最后进行编辑的是 老黄 on 10-08-10 星期二 5:36 pm, 总计第 1 次编辑
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来自: 太平 --〉关丹

帖子发表于: 22-03-09 星期日 6:51 am    发表主题: 引用并回复

林先生的演讲过后,进入问答环节。

由于是“对话”,所以这个环节的时间特别长。从上午11点到下午1点。下午还继续。
主持一宣布开始接受问题,就会看到人龙了。这是马来同胞的特点:

Picture:Click to zoom

男左女右,女子比较含蓄,发问的人数比较少。

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老黄
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来自: 太平 --〉关丹

帖子发表于: 22-03-09 星期日 9:44 pm    发表主题: 引用并回复

发问环节让我发现到穆斯林的演说者的确是经过专业训练的。

Picture:Click to zoom

例如以下两个例子:

上回是印裔穆斯林,听众问:“请问您改信伊斯兰后,您如何看待这两个不同的宗教?您的不同身份又会让您尴尬么?”
印裔穆斯林回答:“不会。我觉得这两个宗教有很多共同点。我成为穆斯林后,我觉得我比以前更像兴都教徒。”

那时候,兴都教的代表听了很高兴,一直对我说这位穆斯林很棒!

这一回是华裔穆斯林。听众问:“请问您改信伊斯兰后,您如何看待这两个不同的宗教?您的不同身份会否让您尴尬?”
华裔穆斯林回答:“不会。我觉得这两个宗教有很多共同点。我成为穆斯林后,我觉得我比以前更像基督教徒。”
I have become a better Christian than previous.


第二个例子是:

有人问:“穆斯林给人的印象是好战的,历史许多的战争都和穆斯林有关。请问当真是如此么?”
两人的回答很类似,都是说阿拉也反战,但是有两个情况会让穆斯林起来抗战,一是受到压迫时,一是见到弱者被欺负的时候。

华裔穆斯林不停地问,历史上的许多战争,是穆斯林发动的么?还是被欺压?
苏联攻击阿富汗,还是阿富汗去攻击苏联?
美国攻打伊拉克,还是伊拉克攻打美国?
……

台下当然很容易起回应。
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最后进行编辑的是 老黄 on 27-10-09 星期二 3:16 pm, 总计第 1 次编辑
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来自: 太平 --〉关丹

帖子发表于: 23-03-09 星期一 12:01 am    发表主题: 引用并回复

我的20分钟演讲内容:

Common Buddhist Misunderstandings
By: Ven. Yin Shun (1906-2005)

It has been more than one thousand and nine hundred years since Buddhism spread to China. Thus, the relationship between Buddhism and China is very close. The development of Buddhism influenced, and was influenced by Chinese culture. In fact Buddhism became a religion of the Chinese.

Buddhism originated from India, and the special characteristics of the Indian culture were sometimes not easy for the Chinese to understand. The Chinese traditions influenced and modified some of the practices, and these deviated from the teaching of the Buddha. As a result, there are unfortunately many misunderstandings about Buddhism in China among the Buddhists and non-Buddhists.

It is very easy to misunderstand Buddhism if one knows nothing about its origins. Some followers may practice the cultural rituals without ever knowing Buddha’s teachings. As a consequence, those who believe in "Buddhism" may not really be following the Buddha’s teachings, and those who criticise Buddhism may not actually be criticising what the Buddha taught. So I hope this talk may help everyone gain a better understanding!

1. Misunderstanding that arises from the teachings.

The theory of the Buddha’s teaching is very profound. Some people do not understand its meanings and may only know it superficially. After listening to a few phrases, they may start to explain to the others in their own way. As a result, some explanations people tell, may not be accurate teachings of the Buddha. The most common misunderstandings are about the teachings: "life is suffering", "out-worldly" and "emptiness". So now lets discuss these terminologies separately:

a) Life is suffering

The Buddha told us that "Life is Suffering". One who does not understand the Truth of this may think that life is meaningless and become negative and pessimistic. Actually, this theory is commonly misunderstood. People in society and even some Buddhists are trapped in this wrong and gloomy view.

When we encounter phenomena, and have a feeling of dislike, worry or pain, we say that there is "suffering". This should not be generalised to "all life is suffering", because there is also a lot of happiness in life! Noises are disturbing but nice melodies bring happiness. When one is sick, poor, separated from loved ones, one has suffering. But when one is healthy, wealthy, together with one’s family, one is very happy. Suffering and happiness exist in all phenomena. Actually where there is happiness, there will be suffering. They are in contrast with each other. If’ we only say that life is suffering when things do not go according to our wish we are rather foolish.

The Buddha says, "Life is suffering". What does "suffering" mean? The sutras say: "Impermanence therefore suffering". Everything is impermanent and changeable. The Buddha says that life is suffering because it is impermanent and ever-changing. For example, a healthy body cannot last forever. It will gradually become weak, old. sick and die. One who is wealthy cannot maintain one’s wealth forever. Sometimes one may become poor. Power and status do not last as well, one will lose them finally. From this condition of changing and instability, although there is happiness and joy, they are not ever lasting and ultimate. When changes come, suffering arises.

Thus, the Buddha says life is suffering. Suffering means dissatisfaction, impermanence and imperfection. If a practising Buddhist does not understand the real meaning of "suffering" and think that life is not perfect and ultimate, they become negative and pessimistic in their view of life. Those who really understand the teaching of the Buddha will have a totally different view. We should know that the theory of "Life is suffering" taught by the Buddha is to remind us that life is not ultimate and lasting, and hence we should strive towards Buddhahood — a permanent and perfect life.

This is similar to one who is sick. One must know that one is sick before wanting to seek the doctor’s treatment. Only then can the sickness be cured. Why is life not ultimate and permanent and full of suffering? There must be a cause for the suffering. Once one knows the cause of suffering, one will try one’s best to be rid of the causes, and hence end the suffering and attain ultimate peacefulness and happiness.

A practising Buddhist should practice according to the Buddha’s instruction, and change this imperfect and non-ultimate life to a ultimate and perfect one. Then would come a state of permanent joy, personality, and purity.

Permanent means ever-lasting, joy means peacefulness and happiness, personality means freedom and non-attachment, purity means cleanliness. This highest aim of Buddhism is not only to break through the suffering of life but to transform this suffering life into a life that has permanent peacefulness, joy, freedom and purity. The Buddha told us the cause of suffering and instructed us to strive towards the goal. The stage of permanent, joy, personality and purity is an ultimate ideal phenomena. It is full of brightness and hope. It is a stage that is attainable by all of us. How can we say that Buddhism is negative and pessimistic?

Although not all practising Buddhists are able to attain this highest point of practice, there is still boundless benefit in knowing this theory. Most people know that they have to strive to do good when they are poor, but once they become rich, they forget about everything, and only think about their own enjoyment and hence walk towards the wrong path foolishly.

A practising Buddhist should remember to strive not only when one is poor and in difficulties, but should also be mindful when one is enjoying, because happiness is not permanent. If one does not strive towards the good, they will degenerate and fall very quickly. The teaching of "Life is suffering" reminds us not to look forward for enjoyment only and go the wrong way. This is the important implication in the teaching of "Life is suffering", taught by the Buddha.

b. "Out worldly" (Supra mundane)

The teaching of Buddha tells us that there is this world and the world beyond this. Many people think that this world refers to the world that we are living in and the world beyond this is some place outside this world. This is wrong. We are living in this world and we remain here even if we become monks or nuns. The Arahats, Bodhisattva and Buddha are saints who have realisations beyond this world but they are still living in this world and giving assistance to us. Thus, "out-worldly" does not mean that one has to go away from this world and go to another place.

What does "worldly" and "out-worldly" mean in Buddhism? According to the Chinese understanding "worldly" has the implication of time. For example, the Chinese regard thirty years as an "age" and in the West, a hundred years make up a century. Anything that exists within the time frame, from the past to the present and from the present to the future, is the "world".

The teaching of the Buddha is also as such. That which is changeable is called "worldly". Within this time frame, from the past to the present, from the present to the future, from existence to non-existence, from good to bad, everything is changing continuously. Anything that is changing is called "worldly". Besides, the word "worldly" also has the meaning of concealment. Normal people do not understand the cause and effect of the past, present and future. They do not know where they come from, how to behave as a human being, where to go after death, the meaning of life and the nature of the universe. They live ignorantly under the influence of the karma of the three births. This is called "worldly".

What does "out-worldly" (supra mundane) mean? "Out" has the meaning of beyond or superior. One who practices the teaching of the Buddha, has wisdom and is able to understand the truth of the life and universe; has no defilements and is pure in one’s mind; and experiences the permanent Truth is called the "out-worldly" one. All the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are living in this world. They have great wisdom in seeing the Truth and their minds are pure. They are not like the normal "worldly" people.

Thus, the term "out-worldly" encourages all of us who are practising the Buddha’s teaching to progress further and become the man above the men, to improve ourselves from a worldly person to an out-worldly saint. It is not asking us to go to another world. Misunderstanding "out-worldly", some think that the principle of Buddhism is to run away from reality.

c. Emptiness

The Buddha says that everything is "empty". Some think that this is empty, that is empty, or everything is empty. Since everything is empty, and meaningless, one does not need to do either evil or good. These people understand the concept vaguely, and lead an aimless life. In fact, "emptiness" in Buddhism is the most profound philosophy. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are the people who have realised the truth of emptiness. "Emptiness" does not mean nothing at all, in contrast, it includes everything. The world is world, life is life, suffering is suffering, happiness is happiness, everything does exist.

In Buddhism, there is clear teaching as to what is right or wrong, good or evil, or cause and effect. One should turn away from the wrong one and redirect to the right one, refrain from evil and do more good. Those who do good will gain good effect, and if one practices one may attain Buddhahood. This is the cause and effect. If we say that everything is empty, then why are we practising the teaching of the Buddha? If there exist the karma, good and evil, worldly people and saint, then, why does the Buddha say that everything is empty? What is the meaning of emptiness?

Things exist due to causes and conditions and do not have a real and unchangeable identity of itself. Thus, they are "empty". The right and wrong, good and evil, and the life are not permanent and unchangeable. They exist due to causes and conditions. Since their existence is dependent on causes and conditions, they continue to change with the changes of the causes and conditions. They do not have a permanent form, and therefore they are "empty".

For example, when one is facing a mirror, there will be an image in the mirror. The image is produced by various conditions. It is not a real thing. Although it is not real, it is very clear when we see it. We cannot say that it does not exist. The concept of "emptiness" relies on this truth that things arise due to causes and conditions. Thus, when the Buddha says that everything is empty, he is implying that everything arises due to causes and conditions. A practising Buddhist must realise and experience emptiness and understand the existence of the Law of cause and effect, good and evil. The perfect realisation of the two truths is that emptiness and existence are equivalent.

2. Misunderstanding that arises from the system

Buddhism originated from India. Its custom were different from the traditional customs of China. For example, the understanding of the aspects of renunciation and vegetarianism were different.

a) To renounce (To take the vows of a monk or nun)

To renounce is a custom in Indian Buddhism. In Chinese society, especially for the Confucianists, there are a lot of misunderstandings about this.

In China, we always hear that, if everyone practised the teaching of the Buddha, then this world would become extinct. Why is it so? Because everyone would become monks or nuns (celibate). There would be no husband and wife, nor son and daughter. How then could society survive?

This is a very serious misunderstanding. There is an example: The teachers teach the students. Will they encourage everyone to be a teacher, and therefore develop a world of teachers? In the Philippines, there is not much misunderstanding about this because there are Fathers and Sisters everywhere. They have also taken vows, but they are only the minority among the Catholics. Not all Catholics must be a Father or Sister.

For the Buddhists, there are the renounced ones and the lay people. One can practise Buddhism by renouncing, or as a lay person. One can practise in order to end the cycle of life and death by renouncing, and can also achieve the same aim by practising at home. It is not necessary for Buddhists renounce themselves. It is also not true that if everyone became a Buddhist, the world of the humans would become extinct. The question now will be, if one can attain the aim of ending the cycle of life and death by either practising as a lay person or as renounced follower, then why must one to renounce? This is because, in order to promote and encourage the spread of Buddhism, someone has to take the responsibility. The best person to take charge of this responsibility will be the renounced monks or nuns, as they do not have family responsibilities and are not involved in other work duties. Hence, they can concentrate more on their practice and the spreading of Buddhism. In order to prolong the existence of Buddhism in this world, we need these type of people to take responsibility. This is also the reason for the formation of the Sangha, the community of renounced ones.

How great is the merit of renouncing? The merit of renunciation is very great. However, those who cannot renounce should not force themselves to do so. If one cannot practise in line with the teaching of the Buddha after renouncing, it is worse then a lay follower. The higher one climbs, the worse will one fall. The merit of renouncing oneself is great, but if one is careless, one will deteriorate even more. One should develop one’s mind sincerely, practise diligently and sacrifice oneself for Buddhism. Then renunciation will be worthwhile. The Sangha (the renounced monks or nuns) are the centre members of Buddhism, they are the main force in the motivation of Buddhism.

The practice of not getting married can also be found in the Western religions. A lot of scientists and philosophers also remain single so that they will not be disturbed by the matters in the family, and hence they can concentrate more on their studies and contribute more to the development of science and philosophy.

The practice of renunciation in Buddhism is to get rid of one’s worldly attachment, and hence concentrate more on Buddhism. To renounce is an act of a great person, thus, one must put in extra effort. If one renounces without proper understanding, or without pure aims, one will not gain any benefit but will obstruct the development of Buddhism.

Some people want to renounce just after they begin to practice. They think that in order to practice the teaching of the Buddha, one must renounce. This is not correct and may frighten away the others from stepping into the practice of Buddhism. This kind of thought — that one must renounce in order to practice the Buddha’s teaching, is the thought that all of us should avoid. One should recognise that it is not easy to renounce. One should first practise to be a good lay follower, practise for the sake of the Dharma, benefitting oneself and others. If one can develop one’s mind greatly and sincerely, practise the renounced way, contribute to Buddhism first before one decides to renounce, it will be better for oneself and at the same time will not create any unpleasant influence to the society.

With regards to renunciation, there are two points to mention here:

a) Some people observe the spaciousness, majestic appearance, quietness and beauty of the temples and monasteries, and this arouses their admiration to be renounced. They think that the monks and nuns who live inside there are just waiting for the offerings of the devotees and enjoying themselves. They do not need to do any work. The idioms such as "do not wake up even when the sun has risen up to three metre high", or "cannot compare with even half-a-day’s freedom of the monk or nun" show the misunderstandings among the general people.

They do not know that the monks and nuns have their own responsibilities, they need to strive hard. When they are practising themselves, they have to "practice diligently before and after midnight"; and in terms of their duty to the devotees, they should go around to preach the teaching of the Buddha. They lead a simple and hard life, striving for the benefit of Buddhism and all beings, benefitting one and another. This is something very great. Thus, they are called the Gem of Sangha. They are not just sitting there waiting for the devotees offerings, waiting for things which are ready and never do anything. May be it is because of too many monks or nuns who are not fulfilling their responsibilities that leads to this misunderstanding.

Some people who are against Buddhism say that the monks and nuns do nothing, they are parasites of society and are useless. These people do not know that it is not necessary for one to be engaged in the work force of agriculture or business in order to be considered productive. If it is so, then are people who choose to be teacher, reporter or other occupations also considered as the consumers of society’s output too?

It is not right to say that the monks or nuns have nothing to do. They lead a simple and hard life and striving diligently everyday. The things that they do, besides benefitting themselves, is to teach others to do good, to emphasise moral values and practices, so that the personality of the devotees can be improved, leading them to the end of the cycle of life and death. They bring great benefit to the people in the world. Thus, how can we say that they are the parasites that are doing nothing?

The monks and nuns are religious teachers. They are profound and respectful educators. Thus, the saying of those who have no understanding on Buddhism, that the monks and nuns are doing nothing and are the parasites wasting society’s money are in fact wrong. A person who really leads a renounced life is in fact not free, they are not mere consumers but are busily repaying their gratitude to all living beings whenever they can.

b) Chinese Buddhism emphasises a vegetarian diet. Thus, some people thought that one who practises Buddhism must be a vegetarian. People who cannot stop eating meat misunderstood that they are not ready to start to learn about Buddhism. If we look around at the Buddhists in Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand or Tibet and Mongolia, not to mention the lay followers, we find even the monks and nuns have meat in their diet. Can you say that they are not practicing the Buddha’s teaching? They are not Buddhists?

Do not think that one must be a vegetarian in order to learn about the teaching of the Buddha and that one cannot practise Buddhism if one cannot be a vegetarian. To practice Buddhism and be a vegetarian are not the same thing. Some people who become a Buddhist, do not learn much about the teachings but only know how to be a vegetarian. This causes unhappiness among the members of the family. They feel that it is too troublesome to be a vegetarian.

In fact one who is practising the teaching of the Buddha should: - after becoming a Buddhist - first understand the teaching of the Buddha and behave according to the teaching in both the family and the society. Purifying one’s conduct and mind, so that the members of the family feel that one has changed for the better should be the goal. If before becoming a Buddhist, one was greedy, has strong hatred and lacked of a sense of responsibility and loving kindness; and after practising the Buddha’s teaching, one becomes less greedy, less paranoid and shows more care to the others with a stronger sense of responsibility, then the members of the family would see the benefit of practising the Buddha’s teaching. At that time, if one wants to be a vegetarian, the family members would not object to it. In fact, they may also be encouraged to have sympathy towards other living beings and follow one to be a vegetarian. If one only knows to be a vegetarian after becoming a Buddhist and does not learn about others, one will surely encounter obstacles and cause misunderstanding.

Although it is not necessary for a Buddhist to be vegetarian, it is a good moral conduct in the Chinese Buddhism and is something that should be promoted. The teaching of the Buddha says that becoming a vegetarian will cultivate one’s loving kindness and compassion. By not harming the life of other living beings, not eating the meat of the other animals one will reduce one’s karma of killing and strengthen one’s sympathy towards the sufferings of Mankind. Mahayana Buddhism advocates the practice of vegetarianism, and says that to be a vegetarian has great merits in cultivating one’s mind of loving kindness and compassion. If one becomes a vegetarian but does not cultivate the mind of loving kindness and compassion, it is only a practice of no killing in a pessimistic way. It resembles the practice of the Hinayanist.

From the view point of the worldly Dharma, the benefit of becoming a vegetarian is very great. It is more economical, highly nutritious and may reduce illness. In the world at present, there are international vegetarian organisations. Everyone who likes to be a vegetarian may join them. Thus, it can be seen that it is good to be a vegetarian. And as Buddhist who emphasises compassion, we should advocate the practice more to others. However, one thing to note is that, do not claim that a Buddhist must be a vegetarian. Whenever meeting with a Buddhist, some will ask: have you become a vegetarian? Why are you still not a vegetarian after practising the Buddha’s teaching for so long? This will frighten some people away. To regard practising Buddhism and becoming a vegetarian as the same will in fact obstruct the spreading of Buddhism.

3. The misunderstanding that arises due to the observances

When non-Buddhists visit the monastery and see observances such as paying respect to the Buddha, intoning the sutras, repenting and the morning and evening chanting, they cannot understand the meaning behind them and comment that these are superstitious acts. There are many misunderstanding within this category. Now, lets briefly mention some of them:

a) To pay respects to the Buddha

To pay respects to the Buddha when entering the monastery, to offer incense, flowers, candle and light to the Buddha are the observances of the Buddhist. The Theistic followers say that we are idol worshippers and superstitious In reality, the Buddha is the master of our religion, he is the saint who has attained the perfect and ultimate stage by practising from the stage of a worldly being. The great Bodhisattvas are the Buddhas to be. They are our guides and indicators of refuge. We should be polite in showing respect to the Buddha and Bodhisattva just as when we show respect to our parents. When the Buddha was still in this world, there was no problem. One could show one’s respect to him directly. However, now that the Sakyamuni Buddha has already entered final Nirvana; and the Buddha and Bodhisattva of the other worlds are not in our world, we have no way to pay respects. Thus, we have to use paper to draw, ceramic, wood or stone to carve their images, to be the object of our worship. It is because of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, merits and images that we are paying our respect to them, and not because of they are the paper, earth wood or stone.

It is similar to the way we respect and love our country. We use coloured cloth and make it into a flag. When the flag is flying, we pay respects to the flag. Can we say that this is also a superstitious act? The Catholics also have images in their church. The Christians, have no image of the God, but use the "cross" as the image for them to pay respect to. Some even kneel down and say their prayer. What is the difference between these acts and the paying of respects to the Buddha? To say that the paying of respects in Buddhism is idol worshipping, is just the intentional defamation of some people.

What about the offerings of fragrance flowers, light and candle? During the Buddha time, the Indians offered these to the Buddha. Light and candle represent brightness, flowers represent fragrance and cleanliness. We believe in the Buddha and pay respect to the Buddha. The offering of these things to the Buddha is to show our respect and faith. On the other hand, it means the gaining of brightness and purity from the Buddha. We do not offer flowers and incense so that the Buddha smells the fragrance; or offer light and candle so that the Buddha can see everything.

Some religions, for example the Catholics, also use these things in their offerings. These are in fact the common observances among the religions. When we are paying respect to the Buddha, we should be respectful and sincere and contemplate on the merits of the real Buddha. If one thinks of other things or talks while paying respect to the Buddha, it is not respectful and loses the meaning of the act of paying respect.

b) To repent

The non-Buddhist or free thinkers always feel that it is an act of superstition when they see Buddhists repent or chant. To repent is to admit one’s mistake. Everyone of us, from the past until the present, have committed countless wrong and evil deeds. We have left behind the karma that brings us sufferings and obstructs our progress towards enlightenment and freedom. In order to reduce and get rid of this karma that is obstructing and bringing suffering to us, we should repent in front of the Buddha or the Sangha and admit our mistakes, so that the past evil karma can be reduced. There are methods of repentance in Buddhism and these are equivalent to the confession’ in Christianity.

This practice is very important for us to progress further along the path of Buddhahood. One must repent for oneself with great sincerity. Then this repentance can be beneficial and comply with the teaching of the Buddha.

People generally do not know how to repent. So, what should we do? The great masters in the past thus compiled some procedures and observances that one could follow if one wants to repent. They taught us to chant word by word, contemplate and understand the teaching behind it. The services of repentance teaches us how to pay respect to the Buddha, seeking for the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas, loving kindness and compassionate protection. We should admit our own mistakes, knowing that killing, stealing and adultery are evil deeds, sincerely repenting our past evil deeds and be determined to practice for a better future. These are the procedures of repentance taught by the great masters in the past. However, the most important aim of these services is to develop one’s mind to correcting oneself and repent sincerely for one’s past evil deeds.

Some people cannot even read the readily written procedures, hence, they invite the monks or nuns to lead them during the repentance. As time passes, it gradually turns out to be that these people do not even know that they should repent, and only employ the monks and nuns to repent for them. Some, when their parents or family members pass away, in order to release the past evil karma of the parents and the other family members, invite the monks or nuns to do a repentance service for them. They hope that relying on the merits of the Triple Gem, the death may be relieved from the realms of suffering. However, sometimes they do not understand the real purpose of the teaching and only emphasise on how big the ceremony should be; or do it for the sake of tradition, and spend money to employ the monks or nuns to do the services for them. They do not have faith in Buddhism, and do not show any sincerity in repenting themselves. In this case the purpose of these repentance services will not be achieved.

Gradually, the purpose of the services for repentance becomes vague. The Buddhist devotees do not repent and request the monks or nuns to do everything for them, As a result, the monks and nuns are busy with all these services all day; to do the service for this family today, and the next family tomorrow. And these services become the only activity in some of the monasteries, with the main task of the monks and nuns being neglected. This is one of the causes of lack of faith in Buddhism nowadays.

Repentance has to come from within. If one repents sincerely, even for just an hour, it has better merits than inviting a lot of people and conducting a few days services but not repenting oneself. If one understands this theory, and would like to show one’s filial piety to the one’s parents, the best merit will be to do the repentance oneself. It is not right to regard the services of repentance or other services as the occupation of the monks or nuns, as this will not bring any good to the society, but creates more misunderstanding and defamation for Buddhism.

c) Daily Chanting

Some people who practices the teaching of the Buddha, recite the name of the Buddha and chant the sutras every morning and evening as their daily homework. This is what we call daily chanting (prayer) in Buddhism.

In Christianity, they have morning and evening, and meal time prayer. The Catholic also chants in the morning and evening. There is nothing wrong with these religious ceremonies, but some Buddhists were concerned about these matters and asked: "Maybe it is better not to practice Buddhism. Once one practices Buddhism, problems come. My mother spends at least one to two hours each morning and evening to do her chanting. If all practicing Buddhists are like this, then who is going to do the work at home?"

Among some of the lay people, this is the real situation. They create the misunderstanding that Buddhism is only suitable for the old people and those who are free, it is not suitable for the general people to practice. In fact, it is not necessary that one must chant a specific sutra, or recite a certain Buddha’s name or to intone for a long time. One can practise according to one’s wish. The duration of the practice should depend on the circumstances and the time that one has. The important thing in the daily practices is to recite the verse of taking refuge in the Triple Gem. The "Ten Vows of the Pu Xian Bodhisattva" is also important. The Buddhism sect in Japan, such as the Pure Land sect, the Tien Tai sect and the Secret sect, which originated from China, have the daily practices of their own sect. They are simple and do not require too much time. This was the situation of Buddhism during the Tang and Song Dynasties.

The daily practice in China over the last few centuries varied:

i) In the forest monastery where there were hundreds of people, it took a long time to gather everyone together. In order to adapt to this special environment, the daily practices became longer.

ii) Since the Yuen and Ming dynasties, the different sects in Buddhism merged. Thus, in compiling the procedure of the daily practice, it included the practices of the various sects in order to suit the needs of followers. It is not necessary for a lay person now to follow all these procedures. In the older days, the Indians who practiced the Mahayana teachings practiced the Five Repentances six times per day. It does not matter if the time is shorter. The frequency of the practice may be increased.

In short, to practice the teaching of the Buddha is not to chant only; and for one who is practising at home, one should not neglect one’s responsibilities at home because of long daily practices.

d) To burn paper money after a death

The Chinese in the olden days have the tradition of burning white silk when praying to the ancestors. They burn the silk so that the ancestors may use it. They were then replaced by paper; as it is more economical. Later, they used paper to make money, ingots, notes, and even houses and cars, and burn them for their ancestors. These are generated from the traditional customs of the olden days. They are not the teachings of the Buddha.

However, there are also some good points about this. It allows the children to show appreciation to their parents. When they are drinking or eating, they think of their parents and ancestors. When they are living in good houses and wearing nice clothes, they remember their ancestors, and do not forget the help of their ancestors. This practice has the implication of remembrance. When Buddhism spread to China, in order to adapt to the Chinese culture, and for convenience sake, this practice was merged into the practice of chanting and paying respect to the Buddha. It arouses the criticism of others, and thoughts that Buddhism is superstitious and wasteful. Buddhists should understand this and should not burn paper money as this is not the teaching of the Buddha. If one still wants to keep the tradition and want to show one’s remembrance towards the ancestors, then one may burn a little at home. But do not burn them in the temple or monastery as this will create misunderstanding of Buddhism.

e) To draw lots, to ask for fortune, to divine

In some Buddhist monasteries and temple, there is misbehaviour such as drawing lots, asking for fortune, divining etc. This arouses the criticism and ire of the society, and people say that Buddhism is superstitious. In fact, true Buddhists do not allow this behaviour (whether they are effective or not is another matter). One who is really practising the teaching of the Buddha, should believe in the Law of Cause and Effect. If one has committed evil karma in the past or present lives, one will not be able to avoid the effect of it through any methods.

One who practises good acts will gain good fruit. One who does evil deeds will not be able to run away from the evil effects. In order to gain good effects, one must do more merits. A practicing Buddhist should try to do more good deeds, according to the teaching of the Buddha, and should not try to find short cuts and behave in a bad way.

4. Misunderstanding that arises from the current development of Buddhism.

Many Chinese do not understand Buddhism and its development in the international level. They criticise Buddhism on their own accord and opinion, based on the current situation of Buddhism in China. The following are two commonly heard criticisms:

a) The country will weaken and end if the people believe in Buddhism.

They think that the end of India is due to its people’s belief in Buddhism. They want China too strong and hence subjectively conclude that the people should not believe in Buddhism. In fact this is totally wrong. Those who have studied the history of Buddhism will know that the time when India was strongest was during the time when Buddhism was most popular. At the time of Emperor Asoka, he unified the whole India and spread the teaching of the Buddha to the whole world.

Later, with the revival of the Brahmana practice, Buddhism was destroyed and India became more restless each day. When India was conquered by the Muslims and the British, Buddhism has already deteriorated to the stage of near to non-existence.

Buddhism in the Chinese history also has a similar path. Now that we call the overseas Chinese the "People of the Tang", and to call China as the "Mountain of Tang", shows that the Tang dynasty was the strongest dynasty in the history of China. And, that is in fact the time when Buddhism was at its high peak: After the destruction of Buddhism by Emperor Tang Wu Zhong, the Tang dynasty began to deteriorate. After the Tang dynasty, the Song Emperors, Song Tai Chu, Tai Zhong, Zhen Zhong and Ren Zhong were all faithful followers of Buddhism. That was also the peak period of the Song dynasty. For the Ming Emperor, the Ming Tai Chu had had the experience of leading a renounced life, the Tai Zhong was also very faithful to Buddhism. Weren’t these the times when the country was in good order, peaceful and strong?

Although Japan is facing failure at the moment, they became one of the stronger countries in the world sometime after the Ming Zhi Revolution. Then, they were mostly Buddhist. Thus, who says that Buddhism will weaken a country? From the facts in the history, the time when a nation was strong was also the time when Buddhism was at its peak. Why are people wishing that the Chinese nation can become stronger but at the same time condemn the propagation of Buddhism?

b) Buddhism is useless to society

The Chinese this century, see the Catholic and Christians’ contribution in setting up schools and hospitals, but little is being seen to be done by the Buddhists. Hence they feel that Buddhism is pessimistic and does not contribute to the social welfare of the society. This is a wrong concept. The most that one can say is that Chinese Buddhists this century were not hard working and responsible. This is not the attitude that the Buddha taught us to have.

The Chinese Buddhist in the past also participated in the social welfare activities in the society. In Japan, Buddhists are at present setting up a lot of universities and high schools. The monks and nuns are the principals or lecturers of the universities or high schools. The charitable work of the society is also conducted and organised by the Sangha of the monastery or temple. This is especially so in Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand. The Buddhists in these countries maintain a very close relationship with the development of education and other charitable work in the society.

Thus, one cannot say that Buddhism is not bringing benefit to the society, one can only say that the Chinese Buddhists have not fulfilled their responsibilities or acted as true followers of the Buddha. One should put more effort into these areas of charity in order to fulfil the basic teaching of the Buddha in relieving the sufferings of the world, and hence increase the popularity of Buddhism.

Unfortunately many Chinese do not understand Buddhism well. Today we have discussed some of the common criticisms. I hope this has enabled you to understand better the wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings. I hope too, that you may practise according to the Buddha’s example, rather than allowing yourself to blindly follow meaningless and perhaps, unhelpful rituals.

Originate Talk by Ven Yin Shun in Phillipines, 1955.
Translated by Neng Rong, edited by Mick Kiddle, proofread by Neng Rong. (19-6-1995)
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来自: 太平 --〉关丹

帖子发表于: 23-03-09 星期一 12:09 am    发表主题: 引用并回复

中文原版:

摘自:印顺法师《佛法是救世之光》(妙云集下篇)

切莫误解佛教
──在菲律宾宿务华侨中学讲──

  佛教传入中国,已经有一千九百多年的历史,所以佛教与中国的关系非常密切。中国的文化,习俗,影响佛教,佛教也影响了中国文化,佛教已成为我们自己的佛教。但佛教是来于印度的,印度的文化特色,有些是中国人所不易明了的;受了中国习俗的影响,有些是不合佛教本意的。所以佛教在中国,信佛法的与不相信佛法的人,对于佛教,每每有些误会。不明佛教本来的意义,发生错误的见解,因此相信佛法的人,不能正确地信仰;批评佛教的人,也不会批评到佛教本身。我觉得信仰佛教或者怀疑评论佛教的人,对于佛教的误解应该先要除去,才能真正的认识佛教。现在先提出几种重要一点的来说,希望在会的听众,生起正确的见解。
  
一 由于佛教教义而来的误解

  佛法的道理很深,有的人不明白深义,只懂得表面文章。随便听了几个名词,就这么讲那么讲,结果不合佛教本来的意思。最普遍的,如「人生是苦」「出世间」「一切皆空」等名词,这些当然是佛说的,而且是佛教重要的理论,但一般人很少能正确了解它。现在分别来解说:

  一、人生是苦:佛指示我们,这个人生是苦的。不明白其中的真义,就生起错误的观念,觉得我们这个人生毫无意思,因而引起消极悲观,对于人生应该怎样努力向上,就缺乏力量。这是一种被误解得最普遍的,社会一般每拿这消极悲观的名词,来批评佛教;而信仰佛教的,也每陷于消极悲观的错误。其实,「人生是苦」这句话,绝不是那样的意思。

  凡是一种境界,我们接触到的时候,生起一种不合自己意趣的感受,引起苦痛忧虑;如以这个意思来说苦,不能说人生都是苦的。为什么呢?因为人生也有很多快乐的事情。听到不悦耳的声音固然讨厌,可是听了美妙的音调,不就是欢喜吗?身体有病,家境困苦,亲人别离,当然是痛苦,然而身体健康,经济富裕,合家团圆,不是很快乐了吗?无论什么事,苦乐都是相对的;假使遇到不如意的事,就说人生是苦,岂非偏见了。

  那么,佛说人生是苦,这苦是什么意义呢?经上说:「无常故苦」,一切都无常,都会变化,佛就以无常变化的意思说人生都是苦的。譬如身体的健康并不永久,会慢慢衰老病死;有钱的也不能永远保有,有时候也会变穷;权位势力也不会持久,最后还是会失掉。以变化无定的情况看来,虽有喜乐,但不永久,没有彻底,当变化时,苦痛就来了。所以佛说人生是苦,苦是有缺陷,不永久,没有彻底的意思。学佛的人,如不了解真义,以为人生既不圆满彻底,就引起消极悲观的态度;真正懂得佛法的,看法就完全不同。要知道佛说人生是苦这句话,是要我们知道现在这人生是不彻底不永久的,知道以后才可以造就一个永久圆满的人生。等于病人,必须先知道有病,才肯请医生诊治,病才会除去,身体就恢复健康一样。为什么人生不彻底不永久而有苦痛呢?一定有苦痛的原因存在,知道了苦的原因,就会尽力把苦因消除,然后才可得到彻底圆满的安乐。所以佛不单单说人生是苦,还说苦有苦因,把苦因除了,就可得到究竟安乐。学佛的应该照佛所指示的方法去修学,把这不彻底不圆满的人生改变过来,成为一个究竟圆满的人生。这个境界,佛法叫做常乐我净。

  常是永久,乐是安乐,我是自由自在,净是纯洁清净。四个字合起来,就是永久的安乐,永久的自由,永久的纯洁。佛教最大的目标,不单说破人生是苦,而主要的在乎将这苦的人生,可以改变过来(佛法名为「转依」),造成为永久安乐自由自在纯洁清净的人生。指示我们苦的原因在那里,怎样向这目标努力去修持。常乐我净的境地,即是绝对的理想界,最有希望的,是我们人人都可达到的。这怎能说佛教是消极悲观呢!

  虽然,学佛的不一定能够人人都得到这顶点的境界,但知道了这个道理,真是好处无边。如一般人在困苦的时候,还知努力为善,等到富有起来,一切都忘记,只顾自己享福,糊胡涂涂走向错路。学佛的,不只在困苦时知道努力向上,就是享乐时也随时留心,因为快乐不是永久可靠,不好好向善努力,很快会堕落失败的。人生是苦,可以警觉我们不至于专门讲究享受而走向错误的路,这也是佛说人生是苦的一项重要意义。

  二、出世:佛法说有世间,出世间,可是很多人误会了,以为世间就是我们住的那样世界,出世间就是到另外什么地方去。这是错了,我们一个人在这个世界,就是出了家也在这个世界。成了阿罗汉、菩萨、佛,都是出世间的圣人,但都是在这个世界救度我们。可见出世间的意思,并不是跑到另外一个地方去。

  那么佛教所说的世间与出世间是什么意思呢?依中国向来所说,「世」有时间性的意思,如三十年为一世;西洋也有这个意思,叫一百年为一世纪。所以世的意思,就是有时间性的,从过去到现在,现在到未来,在这一时间之内的叫世间。佛法也如此:可变化的叫世,在时间之中,从过去到现在,现在到未来,有到没有,好到坏,都是一直在变化,变化中的一切,都叫世间。还有,世是蒙蔽的意思。一般人不明过去现在未来三世的因果,不知道从什么地方来,要怎样做人,死了要到那里去,不知道人生的意义,宇宙的本性,糊胡涂涂在这三世因果当中,这就叫做世间。

  怎样才叫出世呢?出是超过或胜过的意思。能修行佛法,有智慧,通达宇宙人生的真理,心里清净,没有烦恼,体验永恒的真理,就叫出世。佛菩萨都是在这个世界,但他们都是以无比智慧通达真理,心里清净,不像普通人一样。所以出世间这个名辞,是要我们修学佛法的,进一步能做到人上之人,从凡夫做到圣人,并不是叫我们跑到另外一个世界去。不了解佛法出世的意义,误会佛教是逃避现实,而引起不正当的批评。

  三、一切皆空:佛说一切皆空,有些人误会了,以为这样也空,那样也空,什么都空,什么都没有,横竖是没有,无意义,这才坏事不干,好事也不做,糊胡涂涂地看破一点,生活下去就好了。其实佛法之中空的意义,是有着最高深的哲理,诸佛菩萨就是悟到空的真理者。空并不是什么都没有,反而是样样都有,世界是世界,人生是人生,苦是苦,乐是乐,一切都是现成的。佛法之中,明显地说到有邪有正,有善有恶,有因有果;要弃邪归正,离恶向善,作善得善果,修行成佛,如果说什么都没有,那我们何必要学佛呢?既然因果、善恶、凡夫圣人样样都有,佛为什么说一切皆空?空是什么意义呢?因缘和合而成,没有实在的不变体,叫空。邪正善恶人生,这一切都不是一成不变实在的东西,皆是依因缘的关系才有的。因为是从因缘所产生,所以依因缘的转化而转化,没有实体所以叫空。举一个事实来说吧,譬如一个人对着一面镜子,就会有一个影子在镜里。怎会有那个影子呢?有镜有人还要借太阳或灯光才能看出影子,缺少一样便不成,所以影子是种种条件产生的,不是一件实在的物体,虽然不是实体,但所看到的影子,是清清楚楚并非没有。一切皆空,就是依这个因缘所生的意义而说的。所以佛说一切皆空,同时即说一切因缘皆有;不但要体悟一切皆空,还要知道有因有果有善有恶。学佛的,要从离恶行善,转迷启悟的学程中去证得空性,即空即有,二谛圆融。一般人以为佛法说空,等于什么都没有,是消极,是悲观,这都是由于不了解佛法所引起的误会,非彻底纠正过来不可。

  
二 由于佛教制度而来的误解

  佛教是从印度传来的。制度方面有一点不同我国旧有的地方,例如出家与素食,不明了,不习惯的人,对此引起许许多多的误会。

  一、出家:出家为印度佛教的制度,我国社会,特别是儒家,对他的误解最大。在国内,每听见人说:大家学佛,世界上的人都没有了。为什么呢?大家都出家了。没有夫妇儿女,还成什么社会?这是严重的误会,我常比喻说:如教师们教学生,那里教人人当教员去,成为教员的世界吗?这点,在菲岛,不大会误会的,因为到处看得到的神甫、修女,他们也是出家,但这只是天主教徒中的少部分,并非信天主教的人人要当神甫、修女。学佛的,有出家弟子,有在家弟子,出家可以学佛,在家也可以学佛;出家可以修行了生死,在家也同样可以修行了生死,并不是学佛的人一定都要出家,决不会大家学佛,就会毁灭人类社会。不过出家与在家,既都可以修行了生死,为什么还要出家呢?因为要弘扬佛教,推动佛教,必须有少数人主持佛教。主持的顶好是出家人,既没有家庭负担,又不做其它种种工作,可以一心一意修行,一心一意弘扬佛法。佛教要存在这个世界,一定要有这种人来推动他,所以从来就有此出家的制度。

  出家功德大吗?当然大,可是不能出家的,不必勉强,勉强出家有时不能如法,还不如在家。爬得高的,跌得更重;出家功德高大,但一不留心,堕落得更厉害。要能真切发心,勤苦修行,为佛教牺牲自己,努力弘扬佛法,才不愧出家。出家人是佛教中的核心份子,是推动佛教的主体。不婚嫁,西洋宗教也有这种制度。有许多科学哲学家,为了学业,守独身主义,不为家庭琐事所累,而去为科学哲学努力。佛教的出家制,也就是摆脱世间欲累,而专心一意的为佛法。所以出家是大丈夫事,要特别地勤苦。如随便出家,出家而不为出家事,那非但没有利益,反而有碍佛教。有的人,一学佛就想出家,似乎学佛非出家不可,不但自己误会了,也把其它的人都吓住而不敢来学佛。这种思想──学佛就要出家,要不得!应认识出家不易,先做一良好的在家居士,为法修学,自利利他。如真能发大心,修出家行,献身佛教,再来出家,这样自己既稳当,对社会也不会发生不良影响。

  与出家有关,附带说到两点:一、有的人看到佛寺广大庄严,清净幽美,于是羡慕出家人,以为出家人住在里面,有施主来供养,无须做工,坐享清福。如流传的「日高三丈犹未起」,「不及僧家半日闲」之类,就是此种谬说。不知道出家人有出家人的事情,要勇猛精进。自己修行时,「初夜后夜,精勤佛道」;对信徒说法,应该四处游化,出去宣扬真理。过着清苦的生活,为众生为佛教而努力,自利利他,非常难得,所以称为僧宝,那里是什么事都不做,坐享现成,坐等施主们来供养?这大概是出家者多,能尽出家责任者少,所以社会有此误会吧!

  有些反对佛教的人,说出家人什么都不做,为寄生社会的消费者,好像一点用处都没有。不知人不一定要从事农工商的工作,当教员,新闻记者,以及其它自由职业,也能说是消费的吗?出家人不是没有事情做,过着清苦生活而且勇猛精进,所做的事,除自利而外,导人向善,重德行、修持,使信众的人格一天一天提高,能修行了生死,使人生世界得到大利益,怎能说是不做事的寄生者呢?出家人是宗教师,可说是广义而崇高的教育工作者。所以不懂佛法的人说,出家人清闲,或说出家人寄生消费,都不对。真正出家,并不如此,应该并不清闲而繁忙,不是消耗而能报施主之恩。

  二、吃素:我们中国佛教徒,特别重视素食,所以学佛的人,每以为学佛就要吃素。还不能断肉食的,就误会为自己还不能学佛。看看日本、锡兰、缅甸、暹罗,或者我国的西藏、蒙古的佛教徒,不要说在家信徒,连出家人也都是肉食的,你能说他们不学佛,不是佛教徒吗?不要误会学佛就得吃素,不能吃素就不能学佛;学佛与吃素并不是完全一致的。一般人看到有些学佛的,没有学到什么,只学会吃素,家庭里的父母兄弟儿女感觉讨厌,以为素食太麻烦,其实学佛的人,应该这样:学佛后,先要了解佛教的道理,在家庭、社会,依照佛理做去,使自己的德行好,心里清净。使家庭中其它的人,觉到你在没学佛以前贪心大,瞋恨重,缺乏责任心与慈爱心,学佛后一切都变了,贪心淡,瞋恚薄,对人慈爱,做事更负责。使人觉到学佛在家庭社会上的好处,那时候要素食,家里的人不但不反对,反而生起同情心,渐渐跟你学。如一学佛就只学吃素,不学别的,一定会发生障碍,引起讥嫌。

  虽然学佛的人,不一定吃素,但吃素确是中国佛教良好的德行,值得提倡。佛教说素食可以养慈悲心,不忍杀害众生的命,不忍吃动物的血肉,不但减少杀业,而且对人类苦痛的同情心会增长。大乘佛法特别提倡素食,说素食对长养慈悲心有很大的功德。所以吃素而不能长养慈悲心,只是消极的戒杀,那还近于小乘呢!

  以世间法来说,素食的利益极大,较经济,营养价值也高,可以减少病痛。现在世界上,有国际素食会的组织,无论何人,凡是喜欢素食都可以参加,可见素食是件好事,学佛的人更应该提倡。但必须注意的,就是不要把学佛的标准提得太高,认为学佛就非吃素不可。遇到学佛的人,就会问:有吃素吗?为什么学佛这么久,还不吃素呢?这样把学佛与素食合一,对于弘扬佛法是有碍的!

  
三 由于佛教仪式而来的误解

  不了解佛教的人,到寺里去看见礼佛、念经、拜忏,早晚功课等等的仪式,不明白其中的真义,就说这些都是迷信。这里面问题很多,现在简单的说到下面几种:

  一、礼佛:入寺拜佛,拿香、花、灯烛来供佛。西洋神教徒,说我们是拜偶像,是迷信。其实,佛是我们的教主,是人而进达究竟圆满的圣者;大菩萨们也是快要成佛的人。这是我们的皈依处,是我们的领导者。尊重佛菩萨,当然要有所表示,好像恭敬父母,必须有礼貌一样。佛在世的时候,没有问题,可以直接对他表示恭敬,可是现在释迦佛已入涅槃了;还有他方世界的佛菩萨,都不在我们这个世界,不得不用纸画、泥塑、木头石块来雕刻他们的形象,作为恭敬礼拜的对象。因为这是表示佛菩萨的形象,我们才要恭敬礼拜他,并不因为他是纸土木石。如我们敬爱我们的国家,要怎样表示尊敬呢?用颜色的布做成国旗,当升旗的时候,恭恭敬敬向国旗行礼,我们能否说这是迷信的行为?天主教也有像;基督教虽没有神像,但也有十字架作为敬念的对象,有的还跪下祷告,这与拜佛有何差别呢?说佛教礼佛为拜偶像,只是西洋神教徒对我们恶意的破坏。

  至于香花灯烛呢?佛在世时,在印度是用这些东西来供养佛的,灯烛是表示光明,香花是表示芬香清洁。信佛礼佛,一方面用这些东西来供养佛以表示敬虔,一方面即表示从佛得到光明清净。并不是献花烧香,使佛得闻香味,点灯点烛佛才能看到一切。西洋宗教,尤其是天主教,还不是用这些东西吗?这本来是一般宗教的共同仪式。礼佛要恭敬虔诚;礼佛的时候,要观想为真正的佛。如果一面拜,一面想东想西,或者讲话,那是大不敬,失掉了礼佛的意义。

  二、礼忏:佛教徒每礼忏诵经,异教徒及非宗教者,也常常误以为迷信。不知道,忏,印度话叫忏摩,是自己作错了以后,承认自己错误的意思。因为一个人,在过去世以及现生中,谁都做过种种错事,犯有种种罪恶,留下招引苦难,障碍修道解脱的业力。为了减轻及消除障碍苦难的业力,所以在佛菩萨前,众僧前,承认自己的错误,以消除自己的业障。佛法中有礼忏的法门,这等于耶教的悔改,在宗教的进修上,是非常重要的。忏悔要自己忏,内心真切的忏,才合乎佛教的意思。

  一般人不会忏悔,要怎么办呢?古代祖师就编集忏悔的仪规,教我们一句一句念诵,口诵心思,也就知道里面的意义,忏悔自己的罪业了。忏仪中教我们怎样礼佛,求佛菩萨慈悲加护,承认自己的错误,知道杀生、偷盗、邪淫等的不是,一心发愿悔往修来。这些都是过去祖师们,教我们忏悔的仪轨(耶教也有耶稣示范的祷告文),但主要还是要从心里发出真切的悔改心。

  有些人,连现成的仪规也不会念诵,就请出家人领导着念;慢慢地自己不知道忏悔,专门请出家人来为自己礼忏了。有的父母眷属去世了,为要藉三宝的恩威,来消除父母眷属的罪业,也请出家人来礼忏,以求亡者的超升。然而如不明佛法本意,为了铺排门面,为了民间风俗,只是费几个钱,请几位出家人来礼忏做功德,而自己或不信佛法,或者自己毫无忏悔恳切的诚意,那是失掉礼忏的意义了。

  佛教到了后来,忏悔的意义模糊了。学佛的自己不忏,事无大小都请出家人,弄得出家人为佛事忙,今天为这家礼仪,明天为那家做功德。有的寺院,天天以做佛事为唯一事业,出家的主要事业,放弃不管,这难怪佛教要衰败了。所以,忏悔主要是自己,如果自己真真切切的忏悔,甚至是一小时的忏悔,也是超过请了许多人,作几天佛事的功德。了解这个道理,如对父母要尽儿女的孝心,那末自己为父母礼忏的功德很大,因为血缘相通,关系密切的缘故。不要把礼忏,做功德,当作出家人的职业,这不但毫无好处,只有增加世俗的毁谤与误会。

  三、课诵:学佛的人,在早晚诵经念佛,在佛教里面叫课诵。基督教早晚及饭食的时候有祷告,天主教徒早晚也要诵经,这种宗教行仪,本来没有什么问题。不过为了这件事情,有好几位问我:不学佛还好,一学佛问题就大了。我的母亲,早上晚上一做功课,就要一两个钟点,如学佛的都这样,家里的事情简直没有办法推动了。在一部分的居士间,确有这种情形,使人误会佛教为老年有闲的佛教,非一般人所宜学。其实,早晚课诵,并不一定诵什么经,念什么佛,也不一定诵持多久,可以随心所欲,依实际情形而定时间。主要的须称念三皈依;十愿也是重要的。日本从中国传去的佛教,净土宗、天台宗、密宗等,都各有自宗的功课,简要而不费多少时间,这还是唐、宋时代的佛教情况。我们中国近代的课诵,一、是丛林所用的;丛林住了几百人,集合一次,就须费好长时间,为适应这特殊环境,所以课诵较长。二、元、明以来佛教趋向混合;于是编集的课诵仪规,具备各种内容,适合不同宗派的修学。其实在家居士,不一定要如此。从前印度大乘行人,每天六次行五悔法。时间短些不要紧,次数不妨增多。总之学佛,不只是念诵仪规;在家学佛,决不可因功课繁长而影响家庭的工作。

  四、烧纸:古代中国祭祖时有焚帛风俗,烧一点绸缎,给祖先享用。后来为了简省,就改用纸来代替;到后代做成钱、元宝、钞票,甚至扎成房子、汽车来焚化。这些都是古代传来的风俗习惯,演变而成,不是佛教里面所有的。

  这些事情,也有一点好处,就是做儿女的对父母表示一点孝意。自己饮食,想到父母袓先;自己穿衣住屋,想到祖先,不忘记父祖的恩德,有慎终追远的意义。佛教传来中国,适应中国,方便的与念经礼佛合在一起。但是,在儒家「送死为大事」及「厚葬」的风气下,不免铺张浪费,烧得越多越好,这才引起近代人士的批评,而佛教也被认为迷信浪费了。佛教徒明白这个意义,最好不要烧纸箔等,佛法里并没有这些。如果为了要纪念先人,象征的少烧一点,不要拿到寺庙里去烧,免得佛教为我们受罪。

  五、抽签问卜扶乩:有些佛寺中,有抽签,打笤,甚至有扶乩等举动,引起社会的讥嫌,指为迷信。其实,纯正的佛教,不容许此种行为(有没有效验,是另外一件事)。真正学佛的,只相信因果。如果过去及现生作有恶业,决不能用趋吉避凶的方法可以避免。修善得善果,作恶将来避不了恶报,要得到好果报,就得多做有功德的事情。佛弟子只知道多做善事;一切事情,如法合理的作去,决不使用投机取巧的下劣作风。这几样都与佛教无关,佛弟子真的信仰佛教,应绝对的避免这些低级的宗教行为。

  
四 由于佛教现况而来的误解

  一般中国人,不明了佛教,不明了佛教国际的情形,专以中国佛教的现况,随便批评佛教,下面便是常听到的两种。

  一、信仰佛教国家就会衰亡:他们以为印度是因为信佛才亡国,他们要求中国富强,于是武断的认为不能信仰佛教。其实这是完全错误,研究过佛教历史的,都知道过去印度最强盛时代,便是佛教最兴盛时代。那时候,孔雀王朝的阿育王统一印度,把佛教传播到全世界。后来婆罗门教复兴,摧残佛教,印度也就日见纷乱。当印度为回教及大英帝国灭亡时,佛教已经衰败甚至没有了。中国历史上,也有这种实例。现在称华侨为唐人,中国为唐山,就可见到中国唐朝国势的强盛。那个时候,恰是佛教最兴盛的时代;唐武宗破坏佛教,也就是唐代衰落了。唐以后,宋太祖、太宗、真宗、仁宗都崇信佛教,也就是宋朝兴盛的时期;明太祖本身是出过家的,太宗也非常信佛,不都是政治修明,国力隆盛的时代吗?日本现在虽然失败了,但在明治维新之后,跻入世界强国之列,他们大都是信奉佛教的,信佛谁说能使国家衰弱?所以从历史上看来,国势强盛的时代正是佛教兴盛的时代。为什么希望现代的中国富强,而反对提倡佛教呢!

  二、佛教对社会没有益处:近代中国人士,看到天主教、基督教等办有学校医院等,而佛教少有举办,就以为佛教是消极、不做有利社会的事业,与社会无益,这是错误的论调!最多只能说:近代中国佛教徒不努力,不尽责,决不是佛教要我们不做。过去的中国佛教,也大抵办有慈善事业。现代的日本佛教徒,办大学、中学等很多,出家人也多有任大学与中学的校长与教授。慈善事业,也每由寺院僧众来主办。特别在锡兰、缅甸、暹罗的佛教徒,都能与教育保持密切的关系,兼办慈善事业。所以不能说佛教不能给与社会以实利,而只能说中国佛教徒应该自己觉得没有尽了佛弟子的责任,应该多从这方面努力,才会更合乎佛教救世的本意,使佛教发达起来。

  中国一般人士,对于佛教的误解还多得很,今天所说的,是比较更普遍的。希望大家知道了这些意义,做一有纯正信仰的佛教徒,至少也能够清除一下对佛教的误会,使纯正佛教的本来意义发扬出来。否则,看来信仰佛教极其虔诚,而实包含了种种错误,信得似是而非,这也难怪社会的讥嫌了!(明道记)
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说剑



注册时间: 2009-01-10
帖子: 578

来自: 小地方

帖子发表于: 25-03-09 星期三 12:08 am    发表主题: 引用并回复

老黄 写到:

我会直陈佛教是不注重神的观点。

佛教不是无神论,也不是一神论。
无神论者是不信神,佛教却没有否定神的存在和作用;一神论者非常重视神的超越性和绝对性,佛教却比较重视个人内心的净化与升华。

佛教不排斥他力(神的力量),但是更重视自力。这一点是与其他宗教最不同的地方。所以按照一般大宗教对宗教的定义,佛教的这种观点会被视为“非宗教”。当然,有些佛教徒和佛教宗教师也喜欢把自己的信仰定位为“生活的指导”(Life Philosophy)。


老黄讲师,本来我想说“没有否定神的存在和作用”和“不信神”,是一样的。因为没有否定,即是不去肯定,既然不去肯定,就是不相信。

但是这样说未免太武断。

我用“自力”和“他力”来尝试说明。他力虽然对我等凡夫俗子很重要,而且佛教也不否定他力的作用,但最后自力才是最根本、最“有力”的。但是,在未能以自力成就之前,他力的作用却是很需要的,六祖惠能大师就说:“迷时靠师渡、悟时靠自渡”。因此,神的存在和作用是没有被否定,却也不能说是不肯定而不相信的。

但是,所谓“佛教不是无神论,也不是一神论。”这句话,是否是一种方便法?佛教对“神”的看法和一神宗教对“神”的定义是不同的,这句话(“佛教不是无神论,也不是一神论。”)是指一神宗教对“神”的定义对吧?

再说,“没有否定神的存在和作用”,这里指的“神”是佛教对“神”的看法/定义对吧?而,“不信神”里的“神”是一神宗教所定义的“神”吧?
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upatissa



注册时间: 2006-09-01
帖子: 298


帖子发表于: 25-03-09 星期三 12:42 pm    发表主题: 引用并回复

说剑 写到:
老黄 写到:

我会直陈佛教是不注重神的观点。

佛教不是无神论,也不是一神论。
无神论者是不信神,佛教却没有否定神的存在和作用;一神论者非常重视神的超越性和绝对性,佛教却比较重视个人内心的净化与升华。

佛教不排斥他力(神的力量),但是更重视自力。这一点是与其他宗教最不同的地方。所以按照一般大宗教对宗教的定义,佛教的这种观点会被视为“非宗教”。当然,有些佛教徒和佛教宗教师也喜欢把自己的信仰定位为“生活的指导”(Life Philosophy)。


老黄讲师,本来我想说“没有否定神的存在和作用”和“不信神”,是一样的。因为没有否定,即是不去肯定,既然不去肯定,就是不相信。

但是这样说未免太武断。

.....

但是,所谓“佛教不是无神论,也不是一神论。”这句话,是否是一种方便法?佛教对“神”的看法和一神宗教对“神”的定义是不同的,这句话(“佛教不是无神论,也不是一神论。”)是指一神宗教对“神”的定义对吧?

再说,“没有否定神的存在和作用”,这里指的“神”是佛教对“神”的看法/定义对吧?而,“不信神”里的“神”是一神宗教所定义的“神”吧?


我觉得其实取决你怎么定义无神论和有神论。如果这个神是指一神,我想相当大程度上我们可以归纳佛教为无(一)神论。我们所理解的无神论则比较倾向于唯物论,不但否定(一,诸)神,也否定了精神的作用以及很多宗教上的观点如佛教的业报轮回,解脱涅磐等等。

(一)神论的神往往是超越经验的,形而上,无法证明也无法证伪。一般来讲,积极的证明其有就是有神论(如神创造论);积极的证明其没有就是无神论(如科学唯物进化论)。
佛法本是解决生命问题而不是阐述宇宙万象背后的哲学真理,神既然被定位为超越经验的,形而上,讲有讲没有意义。在这种意义之下,无记是最好的立场。
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说剑



注册时间: 2009-01-10
帖子: 578

来自: 小地方

帖子发表于: 01-04-09 星期三 9:21 pm    发表主题: 引用并回复

upatissa 写到:


佛法本是解决生命问题而不是阐述宇宙万象背后的哲学真理,神既然被定位为超越经验的,形而上,讲有讲没有意义。在这种意义之下,无记是最好的立场。


这一点我认同,解决生命问题才是佛教的终极关怀,才是佛陀的本怀。悉达多太子出家也是为了要解决生老病死的问题,过于论述/注重形而上的问题会忽略了更重要的事情。多谢upatissa的提醒。
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~~每个人要走的路,都是自己的选择。~~
不患人之不己知,患其不能也。
天子之剑、诸侯之剑、庶人之剑。
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舜本



注册时间: 2005-10-07
帖子: 213


帖子发表于: 01-04-09 星期三 10:42 pm    发表主题: 引用并回复

多年前,在修学文明对话硕士课程时,参加了不少宗教对话的活动。有些是在酒店,有的在校园里、天主教堂、佛寺、道教教所等。出席的人,多数表现开放态度,不少是热心对话的常客。所以有些参加多次的讲师会在对话会之后说,不容易把这样的对话伸展到更广泛的范围里。好多次的交流里,都停留在介绍各自宗教的教理,虽然讲师不同。有两次让我印象深刻的,一次是在天主教堂,大家互相介绍各自宗教的经典。另一次是讨论了一点点有关转教的争论,那一次,达摩難陀长老直截了当的表述了宗教自由的立场,可惜的是,会场就在十五碑佛教会,多数是佛教徒。
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