Wednesday, November 30th, 2022

The Enlightened Teacher Is a Beacon for the Spirit



The one who lets you become more pure, more expansive, more clear – this is the enlightened teacher. This is because the enlightened teacher can lead you higher, and dissolve away your clingings and attachments, a give a wakeup call to the inherent wisdom of your inner mind. Someone who lets you get more greedy and more full of hate and more deluded is an evil companion. This is because he can lure you down to a lower state, and offer you excuses for letting yourself go, and incite you to do evil deeds to protect his own gain, and increase the negative powers of your inner mind.

不管你希望以哪种方式强化自己的心灵,你都需要一个好的老师。这个好老师,可以是一位真正觉悟的智者,可以是生活中的大小事件,可以是一本好书,也可以是一段特别的经历,等等。当然,我个人是非常推荐禅修的,千年以来,禅佛修炼已积累了大量的经验,总结了各种行之有效的方法,适合各种人的各种需要。所以,我认为,找到一个真正的好老师,皈依他(或她),在他(或她)的指引下修炼你的心灵,这将省去你自行摸索的大量时间,也会帮助你避开途中的那些歧路与陷阱。

No matter by what method you hope to strengthen your mind and spirit, you always need a good teacher. This good teacher might be a truly enlightened person of wisdom; it might be something big or small in life; it might be a good book; it might be a special experience, and so on. Of course I myself particularly recommend meditation practice. Over a thousand years, a great deal of experience has been accumulated in cultivating meditation buddhas, and it is the summation of various methods that are effective when carried out, methods that match the particular needs of various kinds of people. Therefore, I think that finding a genuine teacher, taking refuge with him or her, and cultivating your mind and spirit under his or her direction will save you a lot of time fumbling around on your own, and will help you avoid the detours and pitfalls on the road.

当然,所谓的“好老师”必须是个明师。这里的“明”,是指明白和智慧。也就是说,真正的明师,必须是个真正觉悟、拥有智慧的人。佛家中把这类人称为“善知识”。他不一定很出名,因为很有名气的人中,不乏不学无术的骗子,也不一定有出家人的身份,因为披袈裟者里面,照样充满了贪嗔痴。

Of course, someone who is called a ”good teacher” must be an enlightened teacher. “Enlightened” here means having clear understanding and wisdom. This means that a genuine enlightened teacher must be a person who has genuine enlightenment and who possesses wisdom. In Buddhism they call this kind of person an “enlightened teacher.” He or she is not necessarily famous. This is because among the people who are very famous, there are some charlatans without learning or practical ability. A true teacher is not necessarily a monk or nun, because a person wearing clerical robescan be filled on the inside with greed and anger and ignorance.

为什么找到这样一位老师之后,就要皈依他呢?所谓“皈依”,是皈投、依靠的意思。皈依了明师之后,你的灵魂就有了依怙之所,你的心灵也有了依靠。这意味着,你愿意把身、口、意都献给一种大善大美大真的精神,此后你的一切行为、语言、念想都将是大善精神的载体。

After finding this kind of teacher, why is it necessary to take refuge with him or her? The term “take refuge” means to rely on someone. After taking refuge with an enlightened teacher, your mind and spirit will have a place to depend on, and your mind and spirit will have something to rely on. This implies that you are willing to take your body, mouth, and mind and offer them to the spirit of great good and great beauty and great truth, and after this all your actions and words and thoughts will be a vehicle for the spirit of great good.

一个人在没有觉悟的时候,怎样确定自己找到的就是真正的善知识呢?你要仔细观察自己的心灵。你要观察自己在跟他接触的时候,是渐渐变得清净、宽容、明白,还是变得更加贪婪、仇恨、迷惑。让你变得更加清净、宽容、明白的,就是善知识,因为他能引导你向上,消解你的执著,唤醒你内心本有的智慧;让你变得更贪婪、仇恨、迷惑的,就是恶友,因为他能诱惑你堕落,为你提供放纵的借口,教唆你为维护自己的利益而作恶,加重你内心的负面力量。如果对方是真正的善知识,你就要依照他教给你的方法,好好锻炼心灵;如果对方是恶友,你就要尽快远离他,阻断他对你的各种诱惑与干扰。

When a person is not yet enlightened, how can he be sure that the one he has found is a genuine enlightened teacher? You must carefully observe your own mind and spirit. When you are in contact with the teacher, you must observe whether are you gradually becoming more pure and more expansive and more clear, or whether you are becoming more greedy and more angry and more deluded. The one who lets you become more pure, more expansive, more clear – this is the enlightened teacher. This is because the enlightened teacher can lead you higher, and dissolve away your clingings and attachments, and give a wakeup call to the inherent wisdom of your inner mind. Someone who lets you become more greedy and more full of hate and more deluded is an evil companion. This is because he can lure you down to a lower state, and offer you excuses for letting yourself go, and incite you to do evil deeds to protect his own gain, and increase the negative powers of your inner mind. If the other person is a genuine enlightened teacher, you must cultivate your mind and spirit well according to the methods he or she has taught you. If the other person is an evil companion, you must get away from him as quickly as you can, and block off the various temptations and distractions he causes you.

举个例子,有的人虽然无力摆脱欲望的束缚,但是他做事有底线,知道应该有所为有所不为。但是错信恶友之后,恶友告诉他,你必须争取更大的利益,因为这样你才有能力为社会造福,你先别管那争取会不会在行为上伤害别人,只要你不是为伤害他人而这样做就行,你要把所有善与恶的对立概念都抛弃。如果他听信了恶友的这番话,就会以各种借口来追逐欲望、维护自己的利益,为此不惜满口谎言、作恶害人。

Let’s take an example. Some people, although they do not have the strength to escape from the bonds of desire, still know there are things that must be done and things that must not be done. But after they mistakenly come to have faith in an evil companion, the evil companion tells them, “You must struggle for greater gains, because only by doing this will you have the power to create benefits for society. Pay no attention in the early stages whether or not that struggle for gain will do injury to others: as long as you do not do these things in order to hurt other people, it is alright. You must cast aside all relative concepts of good and evil.” If they believe what the evil companions says, then they will pursue their desires under various pretexts, and protect their own profits, and for this they will not shrink from lying all the time and doing evil things and hurting other people.

要知道,人的心灵就像是一张木头桌子,沾染油迹污垢是轻而易举的事情,假如你不但不擦它,还往上面抹污垢,日久天长,这污垢就会深深渗入桌子的内部,成为桌子的一部分,到时候,你再想把它擦干净可就没那么容易了。更可能发生的是,因为无论怎么擦都无法擦干净那脏透了的桌子,所以你干脆放弃了。也就是说,一个人想堕落是非常容易的事,如果他放纵自己,不以恰当的方法来清除心灵的污垢,就会飞快地堕落下去,除非他真心忏悔,用坚定的信念、恰当的行为来与内心恶的力量对抗,消解那份在往日的放纵中日渐强大的恶,否则他很可能会因为欲望的难以对抗,而选择自暴自弃,最终难免自食恶果。

You must know that a person’s mind and spirit is like a wooden table: it is easily stained with grease. If you not only do not wipe it off, but constantly rub dirt into it, as time goes by, this dirt will penetrate deeply into the table, and become a part of the table. When the time comes that you want to wipe it clean again, it will not be that easy to do. What is more likely to happen is that, because there is no way to wipe that filthy table clean no matter how you try, you will just get rid of it once and for all. This means thatif a person wants to sink to a lower level, it is very easy to do, and if he indulges himself, and does not remove the filth from his mind and spirit using appropriate methods, then he will rapidly degenerate. Unless he sincerely repents, and resists the inner mind’s evil power with strong faith and appropriate actions, and dissolves away the evil that was growing stronger day by day through his previous self-indulgence, then, because desire is hard to resist, and he has chosen to give up on himself,it is very likely that he will ultimately not escapebecoming the victim of his own evil deeds.

除了观察自己的变化之外,你也可以观察对方的人格,尤其要观察对方如何处理与他人之间的利益冲突。假如一个人为了保全自己不惜伤害他人,那么他就绝对不是一个能够引导你向上的老师。这跟他说的话有没有道理、他都说了一些什么是没有绝对关系的。真正的心灵导师不一定很会说话,也不一定慈眉善目。有些好老师甚至还会不停地骂你,把你骂出一身冷汗,但是与此同时又觉得自己似乎因此而明白了一种东西,这也是“善知识”。密勒日巴的上师玛尔巴就经常打骂密勒日巴,但他仍然是非常伟大的善知识。

Besides observing your own changes, you can also observe the other person’s character. You must especially observe how the other person handles conflicts of interest with other people. If a person does not hesitate to hurt others to protect himself, then he is absolutely not a teacher who can lead you to a higher level. This has no absolute connection to whether or not what he says is reasonable, or to what he says. A genuine guide for the mind and spirit will not necessarily be a good talker, and will not necessarily have a benign look. Some teachers may even constantly scold you, scold you till your break out in a cold sweat. But when at the same time as this, you still feel that you seem to be understanding something because of this, this too is an “enlightened teacher.” Milarepa’s master teacher Marpa often hit and scolded Milarepa, but Marpa was still a very great enlightened teacher.

有时候,生活中的苦难也可能会成为你的明师。比如,很多人在亲友过世的时候悲痛欲绝,对尘世失去依恋,生起了巨大的出离心,这时就会发现以往执意追求的很多东西,薪酬、福利、外表、物质上的享受、他人口中的认可等等,其实根本没有一点意义。它们在无常面前不堪一击,而且转瞬即逝。对于这些人来说,亲友的离世既是灾难,又是一种助缘。

Sometimes, the sufferings and difficulties in life can become your teacher. For example, many people become grief stricken when family members or friends pass away, and they lose their attachment to the world of the senses, and give rise to a great mind of detachment. At this point they discover that many of the things they used to be attached to and pursue – salaries, material benefits, external appearance, enjoyments at the level of material things, approval from other people, and so on – in fact basically have no meaning. Faced with impermanence, they collapse at the first blow, and fade away in the blink of an eye. For these people, family members and friends departing from the world is a disaster, but it is also a cooperating causal factor [in the process of spiritual learning].

又比如,有的人很有钱,但突然患上了绝症,医生告诉他,无论花多少钱这个病也没办法治了,他才恍然大悟,多年来费尽心思、尝尽苦头,甚至不择手段积累所得的巨额财富,其实分文不值。于是他把所有钱都捐给了需要它们的人。对于他来说,绝症何尝不是一位绝好的老师呢?

Here’s another example. Someone is very wealthy, but suddenly he comes down with an incurable disease, and the doctors tell him that no matter how much money he spends, there is no way to cure this sickness. At last he has a sudden realization that for many years he has been wasting his mind, and he tastes the full bitterness: the vast wealth he has accumulated by fair means or foul is in fact not worth a penny. So then he takes all his money and donates it to people in need. For this man, wasn’t it true that the incurable disease was an excellent teacher?

再比如,还有的人,有妻有子有车有楼有钱,却突然在金融风暴中破了产,车子、房子都抵押还债了,儿子和老婆也离开了他。某天,他喝着白粥想起以往的奢华生活,觉得世事就像一场梦一样,毫无真实感,心里反而淡然了,放下了一切,进而实现了生命的升华。对他来说,金融风暴就是明师。

A further example. There is a man who has a wife and children and a car and real estate and money. Suddenly, in a financial crisis, he goes bankrupt and his car and his house are repossessed, and his children and his wife leave him. One day he is eating simple porridge, and he begins to think of his formerly prosperous life, and he feels that worldly things are like a dream, without the slightest feeling of being real. In his mind he becomes indifferent to them, and he lets go of everything, and from then on his life is really raised to a higher level. For this man, the financial crisis is an enlightened teacher.

巨大的苦难,能够激起一个人内心最美好的东西,也能激起一个人内心最丑陋的东西,区别在于你选择在痛苦中沉沦放纵,还是觉醒、向上。能够明白“逆缘即顺缘,烦恼即菩提”之真义的人,显然是幸运的。

In the inner mind of one person, great suffering can stimulate the most beautiful things, and in the inner mind of another person it can stimulate the ugliest things. The difference is a matter of whether you choose in the midst of suffering to sink into self-indulgence, or whether you wake up and go toward a higher level. Obviously, it is a fortunate person who can understand the truth that “adverse conditions are favorable conditions, and affliction is enlightenment.”

当你生出巨大的出离心,并且找到了能导你向上的明师之时,你还需要一个明确的发心。所谓“发心”,就是许愿,它是你这辈子要达到的目标,是你所有选择与行为的标准与方向。《西游记》里白龙马的发心是:“我一定要驮着唐僧去西天取经,最后得到真经。”有了这个发心,它的走就有了目标和意义,才会一步步、坚持不懈地往前走。而磨坊里的驴则没有发心,虽然它也在天天走路,但它的走却毫无目标,仅仅在消磨着自己的生命。

When you generate an enormous mind of detachment, and you find an enlightened teacher who can lead you to a higher level, you still need a clear, true aspiration. What is called “generating aspiration” means making a vow. That aspiration is the goal that you must reach in this lifetime, the goal and orientation of all your choices and actions. In [the classic sixteenth century Chinese novel about the quest for wisdom] The Journey to the West, the aspiration of the White Dragon Horse is this: “I certainly must carry the Tang Monk to India to get the scriptures.” Since he has this aspiration, his journey has a goal and a meaning, and thus he is able to proceed onward step by step, steadfastly, without slacking off. But the donkey in the mill has no aspiration, and though too he walks on day after day, his journey has no goal whatsoever, and he is just wasting his own life.

发心,相当于王国维所说的古之成大业者的三种境界中的第一种,即“昨夜西风凋碧树,独上高楼,望尽天涯路”。望尽天涯路,然后发心,最后决定走那天涯路。没有这个发心,就不可能有后来的行为。

Generating the aspiration corresponds to the first of the three types of realms of the people of great achievement in ancient times which Wang Guowei [1877-1927] described: “Last night as the west wind withered the green trees, he climbed the high tower alone, and beheld the road that goes all the way to the horizon.” He beheld the road that goes all the way to the horizon, and then he generated the aspiration, and ultimately he decided to travel that road to the horizon. Without generating the aspiration, you cannot have the subsequent action.

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