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Mindfulness In Plain English - Chapter 8: Structuring Your Meditation
 
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Mindfulness In Plain English

佛教禅修直解

by Mahathera Henepola Gunaratana

德宝法师著作
梁国雄居士译

Chapter 8: Structuring Your Meditation

第八章 规划你的禅修

Everything up to this point has been theory. Now let's dive into the actual practice. Just how do we go about this thing called meditation.

到此为止,讲的都是理论;现在,让我们探究一下实际的修习吧!「禅修」这东西应如何着手进行呢?

First of all, you need to establish a formal practice schedule, a specific period when you will do Vipassana meditation and nothing else. When you were a baby, you did not know how to walk. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to teach you that skill. They dragged you by the arms. They gave you lots of encouragement. Made you put one foot in front of the other until you could do it by yourself. Those periods of instruction constituted a formal practice in the art of walking.

首先,你要制订一个正式的修习时间表,在那特定的时间内,你什么也不做,只专用来修习内观禅。当你还幼小,还未懂走路时,有人花了许多功夫才教晓你那个技巧,他们拉着你的手臂学步,给你鼓励,要你一步一步的向前走,直至你学懂为止。那些教导时段即构成你学习行走技巧的正式练习。

In meditation, we follow the same basic procedure. We set aside a certain time, specifically devoted to developing this mental skill called mindfulness. We devote these times exclusively to that activity, and we structure our environment so there will be a minimum of distraction. This is not the easiest skill in the world to learn. We have spent our entire life developing mental habits that are really quite contrary to the ideal of uninterrupted mindfulness. Extricating ourselves from those habits requires a bit of strategy. As we said earlier, our minds are like cups of muddy water. The object of meditation is to clarify this sludge so that we can see what is going on in there. The best way to do that is just let it sit. Give it enough time and it will settle down. You wind up with clear water. In meditation, we set aside a specific time for this clarifying process. When viewed from the outside, it looks utterly useless. We sit there apparently as productive as a stone gargoyle. Inside, however, quite a bit is happening. The mental soup settles down, and we are left with a clarity of mind that prepares us to cope with the upcoming events of our lives.

在禅修时,我们依照相同的基本步骤,拨出特定时间来专门发展这叫静观的心灵技巧。在这特定时间中我们只做禅修,并规划环境以减少分心。这并非世间很易学到的技巧。我们至今养成的心理习惯,实与无间断的静观理想十分抵触,欲想脱离这些习惯,非用点策略不可。如前所述,我们的心就像一杯混浊的泥水,而禅修目的,就是要澄清混浊,好让我们看清楚里面的情况。最佳办法是让它放置在那儿,给它足够时间让泥浆沉淀下来,最后便会出现清水。我们拨出来的禅修专用时间,就是为了进行此澄清过程。从外面看,这样做似毫无用处,我们坐在那里,与一座石雕怪物无异,哪有建树可言。可是,里面却有不少事情在发生着,内心的污垢在沉淀下来,心境亦变得渐渐清明,使我们能够应付接踵而至的各种生活问题。

That does not mean that we have to do anything to force this settling. It is a natural process that happens by itself. The very act of sitting still being mindful causes this settling. In fact, any effort on our part to force this settling is counterproductive. That is repression, and it does not work. Try to force things out of the mind and you merely add energy to them You may succeed temporarily, but in the long run you will only have made them stronger. They will hide in the unconscious until you are not watching, then they will leap out and leave you helpless to fight them off.

这并非说,我们要有所作为来促成这种沉淀,它是自发的一种自然过程,只须保持端坐与静观,即可造成这种沉淀。事实上,任何其他的促使努力,都只会弄巧成拙;那是压抑,不会有效的。尝试驱逐心内的东西,只会为那些东西增加能量而已,你可能暂时得逞,长远来说,你只会令它们更加强大;它们会隐藏在「无意识」里,趁你不留意时,就会跳出来,令你手足无措。

The best way to clarify the mental fluid is to just let it settle all by itself. Don't add any energy to the situation. Just mindfully watch the mud swirl, without any involvement in the process. Then, when it settles at last, it will stay settled. We exert energy in meditation, but not force. Our only effort is gently, patient mindfulness.

要澄清心意,最佳办法是让它自己沉淀下来,不要去打扰;只须专心地观察着内心的污垢旋转,不可作丝毫的参与。不久之后,它会沉淀下来,跟着就会一直保持沉淀。我们在禅修中要奋发精进,不是要强迫。我们唯一要努力的是:温和而又坚忍的静观。

The meditation period is like a cross-section of your whole day. Everything that happens to you is stored away in the mind in some form, mental or emotional. During normal activity, you get so caught up in the press of events that the basic issues with which you are dealing are seldom thoroughly handled. They become buried in the unconscious, where they seethe and foam and fester. Then you wonder where all that tension came from. All of this material comes forth in one form or another during your meditation. You get a chance to look at it, see it for what it is, and let it go. We set up a formal meditation period in order to create a conducive environment for this release. We re- establish our mindfulness at regular intervals. We withdraw from those events which constantly stimulate the mind. We back out of all the activity that prods the emotions. We go off to a quiet place and we sit still, and it all comes bubbling out. Then it goes away. The net effect is like recharging a battery. Meditation recharges your mindfulness.

禅修时段就像你整天的一个横切面,发生在你身上的每一件事,都会以某种心理上或感情上的形式,存放在心里。在日常活动中,你每每被事件缠住,很少能彻底处理好根本问题,于是,它们躲藏在「无意识」之中,在那里沸腾、起泡沫与溃烂。接着,你感到紧张、不安,于是疑惑地问:那些紧张到底是从那儿来的?

Where To Sit

Find yourself a quiet place, a secluded place, a place where you will be alone. It doesn't have to be some ideal spot in the middle of a forest. That's nearly impossible for most of us, but it should be a pace where you feel comfortable, and where you won't be disturbed. It should also be a place where you won't feel on display. You want all of your attention free for meditation, not wasted on worries about how you look to others. Try to pick a spot that is as quiet as possible. It doesn't have to be a soundproof room, but there are certain noises that are highly distracting, and they should be avoided. Music and talking are about the worst. The mind tends to be sucked in by these sounds in an uncontrollable manner, and there goes your concentration.

所有这些东西都会以某种形式在禅修中出现,你有机会去观察它,看清楚它是什么,然后放下它、由它去(Let it go)。我们安排正式的禅修时间,就是为了创造一个有利于这样解脱的环境。我们作定时的静观重建,我们从刺激感官与心灵的事物中抽离,我们从刺激情绪的活动中退下,我们远离烦嚣闹市,来到安静的地方坐下来,让那些躲藏在「无意识」里的东西一一浮现,然后消失;最终效果有如重新充电,禅修的确可为你的静观重新充电。在哪里坐?

为自己找一个安静、隐蔽、且能独处安居的地方,不一定要到树林中央那么理想之处,那不是一般人可以做得到的。不过,那个地方必须令你感到舒适、不会被打扰、更不会有被展览之感,因为你想全神贯注于禅修上面,不想花时间顾虑别人对自己的看法。试找一个较为安静的地方,不必完全隔音,不过,某些噪音的确会使人分心,应该避免;例如音乐与谈话就最差,它们令你不由自主地被吸引,不知不觉地专注它们。

There are certain traditional aids that you can employ to set the proper mood. A darkened room with a candle is nice. Incense is nice. A little bell to start and end your sessions is nice. These are paraphernalia, though. They provide encouragement to some people, but they are by no means essential to the practice.

你可用一些传统的辅助手段来创造适当的气氛,例如,在暗室中燃点一枝香或蜡烛,用铃声来开始与结束等都很好。不过,这都是一些方便用具,对某些人会有策动作用,但对修行来说,它们不是必须的。

You will probably find it helpful to sit in the same place each time. A special spot reserved for meditation and nothing else is an aid for most people. You soon come to associate that spot with the tranquility of deep concentration, and that association helps you to reach deep states more quickly. The main thing is to sit in a place that you feel is conductive to your own practice. That requires a bit of experimentation. Try several spots until you find one where you feel comfortable. You only need to find a place where you don't feel self-conscious, and where you can meditate without undue distraction.

你也许发现,每次禅修都坐同一地方会有帮助。是的,预留地方作禅修专用,对大多数人来说都很有助益,因为,你很快就会把那位置与深定中的宁静联系起来,而那联系有助你更快达致深定状态。关键是要找对地方,那需要做点实验,可试坐几个地方,直至找到一个你感到合适的为止。你只须找个没有不自然感觉、不会令你过度分心的地方即可。

Many people find it helpful and supportive to sit with a group of other meditators. The discipline of regular practice is essential, and most people find it easier to sit regularly if they are bolstered by a commitment to a group sitting schedule. You've given your word, and you know you are expected. Thus the 'I'm too busy' syndrome is cleverly skirted. You may be able to locate a group of practicing meditators in your area. It doesn't matter if they practice a different form of meditation, so long as it's one of the silent forms. On the other hand, you also should try to be self-sufficient in your practice. Don't rely on the presence of a group as your sole motivation to sit. Properly done, sitting is a pleasure. Use the group as an aid, not as a crutch.

许多人发现,一起共修很有帮助,有规律的定时练习也很重要。如果有一起承诺的共修时间表支持,许多人都能作定时禅坐,因为应承了就要做,像「我很忙」等藉口就可巧妙地避开了。在你居住地区,你或可找到一群禅修者,他们的修习方式与你不同,但不要紧,只要是安静的方式便可一起共修。另一方面,你要学会独自修习,自给自足,无须依赖共修的激励。做得适当,禅修实是一种乐趣。应视共修为辅助,而非不可或缺的跛子拐杖。在什么时候禅坐?

When To Sit

The most important rule here is this: When it comes to sitting, the description of Buddhism as the Middle Way applies. Don't overdo it. Don't underdo it. This doesn't mean you just sit whenever the whim strikes you. It means you set up a practice schedule and keep to it with a gently, patient tenacity. Setting up a schedule acts as an encouragement. If, however, you find that your schedule has ceased to be an encouragement and become a burden, then something is wrong. Meditation is not a duty, nor an obligation.

提到禅坐,最重要的准则是:依佛教的「中道」进行,避免过度与不足。这不是说,你一时兴起才坐,而是制定一个禅修时间表,用温和、耐性和锲而不舍的精神去进行。订立好的时间表有鼓励作用,如果你发觉它已失去鼓励作用,反而变成一种负担,那么,一定在某处出了问题。禅修不是一种义务,也不是一种责任。

Meditation is psychological activity. You will be dealing with the raw stuff of feelings and emotions. Consequently, it is an activity which is very sensitive to the attitude with which you approach each session. What you expect is what you are most likely to get. Your practice will therefore go best when you are looking forward to sitting. If you sit down expecting grinding drudgery, that is probably what will occur. So set up a daily pattern that you can live with. Make it reasonable. Make it fit with the rest of your life. And if it starts to feel like you're on an uphill treadmill toward liberation, then change something.

禅修是一种心理活动,你要面对和处理的是原始、未经加工的感受和情绪等东西,因此,这活动很易受你每次禅修时所采取的态度所影响。你的预期很可能就是你所得到的,如果你期待禅修,到时你的禅修将会做得很好;如果你预期那是一种乏味的苦差,那结果很可能就会出现。因此,制定一个合理而可行的禅修日程表,让它与你的其他日常活动相互容纳;此外,如果发觉越来越难达致解脱,那就要作出一些改变了。

First thing in the morning is a great time to meditate. Your mind is fresh then, before you've gotten yourself buried in responsibilities. Morning meditation is a fine way to start the day. It tunes you up and gets you ready to deal with things efficiently. You cruise through the rest of the day just a bit more lightly. Be sure you are thoroughly awake, though. You won't make much progress if you are sitting there nodding off, so get enough sleep. Wash your face, or shower before you begin. You may want to do a bit of exercise beforehand to get the circulation flowing. Do whatever you need to do in order to wake up fully, then sit down to meditate. Do not, however, let yourself get hung up in the day's activities. It's just too easy to forget to sit. Make meditation the first major thing you do in the morning.

一早起来就做禅修是最好不过的事,那时头脑清新,还未受日常事务的重大干扰。以晨早禅修来开始每一天是好的,它令你调升至最佳状态,准备好自己有效地处理事情,让你轻易地度过每一天。然而,一定要确保你是完全清醒,否则,坐在那里打瞌睡是不会有进步的。因此,要睡眠充足,开始前宜梳洗、沐浴,亦可做些热身运动,令各循环系统活跃流通;总之,要尽你所能令自己完全清醒过来,然后坐下来禅修。此外,不可让日常活动打扰,以致忘了预定的打坐安排,最好把禅修定为早上的首要活动。

The evening is another good time for practice. Your mind is full of all the mental rubbish that you have accumulated during the day, and it is great to get rid of the burden before you sleep. Your meditation will cleanse and rejuvenate your mind. Re- establish your mindfulness and your sleep will be real sleep. When you first start meditation, once a day is enough. If you feel like meditating more, that's fine, but don't overdo it. There's a burn-out phenomenon we often see in new meditators. They dive right into the practice fifteen hours a day for a couple of weeks, and then the real world catches up with them. They decide that this meditation business just takes too much time. Too many sacrifices are required. They haven't got time for all of this. Don't fall into that trap. Don't burn yourself out the first week. Make haste slowly. Make your effort consistent and steady. Give yourself time to incorporate the meditation practice into your life, and let your practice grow gradually and gently.

晚间是禅修的另一个好时段,日间积聚于心的垃圾,能在睡眠前完全清除,实在太好了。禅修可令内心清净和恢复活力。重新建立静观,才能够真的睡得好。

对于禅修新手来说,每天一次就够了;如果你想修习长些时间,那是好的,但不要过度。我们不时发觉有禅修新手把自己弄致筋疲力尽,他们迳自参加数星期的密集禅修,其间每天要禅修十五小时,不多久,现实世界的问题赶上来了,他发觉禅修太花时间了,作出的牺牲太多了,他们实在付不起。不要堕入此陷阱,不可在第一个星期就令自己精疲力竭,宜慢慢地加速、坚持努力、稳步前进,让自己有时间将禅修融入日常生活之中,让你的禅修缓和地逐步进展。


As your interest in meditation grows, you'll find yourself making more room in your schedule for practice. It's a spontaneous phenomenon, and it happens pretty much by itself--no force necessary.

随着禅修兴趣的增长,你自会腾出更多时间作禅修之用,那是一种突发现象,自发于禅修活动本身,无须勉强。

Seasoned meditators manage three or four hours of practice a day. They live ordinary lives in the day-to-day world, and they still squeeze it all in. And they enjoy it. It comes naturally.

经验丰富的禅修者能安排每天禅坐三、四个小时,他们在世间也要过平常人的生活,之所以能挤出时间禅修,乃因为他们乐在其中,自然而然而已。要坐多久?

How Long To Sit

A similar rule applies here: Sit as long as you can, but don't overdo. Most beginners start with twenty or thirty minutes. Initially, it's difficult to sit longer than that with profit. The posture is unfamiliar to Westerners, and it takes a bit of time for the body to adjust. The mental skills are equally unfamiliar, and that adjustment takes time, too.

类似的规则在这里也适用,你能禅坐多久就禅坐多久,千万不可过度,大多数新手开始时可坐二、三十分钟,若超过这个时间,初学者是很难受益的。这种坐姿西方人并不熟悉,他们的身体是要一点时间去调适的。禅修所用的心理(精神)技巧对他们也是不熟悉的,亦需要一些时间去调整。

As you grow accustomed to procedure, you can extend your meditation little by little. We recommend that after a year or so of steady practice you should be sitting comfortable for an hour at a time.

随着你对禅修过程变得熟习,便可一点一点地延长禅坐时间,我们建议你用一年左右的时间去修习,令自己可舒畅地坐上一个钟头。

Here is an important point, though: Vipassana meditation is not a form of asceticism. Self-mortification is not the goal. We are trying to cultivate mindfulness, not pain. Some pain is inevitable, especially in the legs. We will thoroughly cover pain, and how to handle it, in Chapter 10. There are special techniques and attitudes which you will learn for dealing with discomfort. The point to be made here is this: This is not a grim endurance contest. You don't need to prove anything to anybody. So don't force yourself to sit with excruciating pain just to be able to say that you sat for an hour. That is a useless exercise in ego.

不过,这里有一重点要知:内观禅并不是一种苦行方式,自苦其身不是它的目的,我们是要培育静观力,不是苦痛。有些苦痛是无法避免的,尤其是腿子痛,我们会在第十章中详尽地讨论痛,以及处理它的办法,届时你将学到一些技巧和态度,足以应付那些不适的感觉。这里想要指出的是:这不是一场严厉的耐力比赛,你无须向人证明什么;因此,不要强迫自己忍着剧痛去禅坐,只为能证明你可禅坐一个钟头,这不过是一种自我的无益之举而已。

And don't overdo it in the beginning. Know your limitations, and don't condemn yourself for not being able to sit forever, like a rock.As meditation becomes more and more a part of your life, you can extend your sessions beyond an hour. As a general rule, just determine what is a comfortable length of time for you at this point in your life. Then sit five minutes longer than that. There is no hard and fast rule about length of time for sitting. Even if you have established a firm minimum, there may be days when it is physically impossible for you to sit that long. That doesn't mean that you should just cancel the whole idea for that day. It's crucial to sit regularly. Even ten minutes of meditation can be very beneficial.

因此,开始时不要过度,要了解自己的极限,也不可责怪自己为何不能像石块般一直坐下去。当禅修渐渐成为你生活的重要部分时,便可把禅修时间延长至一个小时。一般来说,应就你的现况来作决定,以能舒适地禅坐多久为基准,然后再禅坐多约五分钟就够了。禅坐时间没有硬性规定,就算你预先定立下限时间,到时可能身体不适,令你数天内无法禅坐上那么长的时间。这不是说你可取消那些日子的禅修安排,有规律的定时练习是重要的,就算只禅坐十分钟也非常有益。

Incidentally, you decide on the length of your session before you meditate. Don't do it while you are meditating. It's too easy to give in to restlessness that way, and restlessness is one of the main items that we want to learn to mindfully observe. So choose a realistic length of time, and then stick to it.

顺便一提,你必须在禅坐前决定要坐多久,不要在禅坐中作决定,你会因散乱不安(掉举)而出坐的,而散乱不安正是我们要学习留意观察的重要项目之一。因此,选择一个切实可行的禅坐时段,然后坚持下去。

You can use a watch to time you sessions, but don't peek at it every two minutes to see how you are doing. Your concentration will be completely lost, and agitation will set in. You'll find your self hoping to get up before the session is over. That's not meditation--that's clock watching. Don;t look at the clock until you think the whole meditation period has passed. Actually, you don't need to consult the clock at all, at least not every time you meditate. In general, you should be sitting for as long as you want to sit. There is no magic length of time. It is best, though, to set yourself a minimum length of time. If you haven't predetermined a minimum, you'll find yourself prone to short sessions. You'll bolt every time something unpleasant comes up or whenever you feel restless. That's not good. These experiences are some of the most profitable a meditator can face, but only if you sit through them. You've got to learn to observe them calmly and clearly. Look at them mindfully. When you've done that enough time, they lose their hold on you. You see them for what they are: just impulses, arising and passing away, just part of the passing show. Your life smoothes out beautifully as a consequence.

可以用一闹钟或定时器来计时,但不要每两分钟就偷窥一下,看看自己的表现,你的定力会因此而完全消失的,散乱不安(掉举)亦会乘虚而入,你会发觉自己很想提早出坐,这不是在禅修,而是在观看闹钟。不要看闹钟,要坐至禅修结束时间为止!事实上,你是无须用上钟表的,至少不必每次禅坐都要用它。一般而言,你想坐多久就坐多久,所谓神效时段是没有的。不过,最好给自己预定一个下限时段,如果没有下限时段,你将发觉自己只能作短暂的禅坐,因为每当有不适或不安时,你就会逃避,匆忙结束,那是不好的。这些宝贵经验是禅修者会遇上的,不过,只有坚持渡过的人,才能从中得益。你必须学会安静地、清楚地观察它们、留心地注意它们,如是地重复多次之后,它们再不能掌控你了,而你就能如实了解,知道它们只不过是一些冲动,生住异灭,有如过眼云烟。从此以后,你的人生问题便可优美地平息下来。

'Discipline' is a difficult word for most of us. It conjures up images of somebody standing over you with a stick, telling you that you're wrong. But self-discipline is different. It's the skill of seeing through the hollow shouting of your own impulses and piercing their secret. They have no power over you. It's all a show, a deception. Your urges scream and bluster at you; they cajole; they coax; they threaten; but they really carry no stick at all. You give in out of habit. You give in because you never really bother to look beyond the threat. It is all empty back there. There is only one way to learn this lesson, though. The words on this page won't do it. But look within and watch the stuff coming up--restlessness, anxiety, impatience, pain-- just watch it come up and don't get involved. Much to your surprise, it will simply go away. It rises, it passes away. As simple as that.

听到「纪律」这个词,我们大多数人都会觉得困难,因为它令人想像出,有个人高高在上地拿着棍子在监督,告诉你做错了这样或那样,可是,「自律」就不同了,「自律」是一种技巧,凭着它你可看穿自己内心冲动的空喊,从而深入了解它的奥秘。它们对你是无能为力的,全部皆是一种展示、一个骗局而已。你的冲动向你尖叫、咆哮,它们或哄骗、诱惑、威胁你,可是,它们根本就没有真的棍子在手。你顺从它们只是出于习惯,因为你从来就没有费神认真地看清楚威胁的背后,它的背后其实是空的。然而,只有一个方法可以学到这个教诲,纸上谈兵是没有用的,应该要向内看,单纯留意观察着刚冒出来的东西── 那不安、焦虑、烦躁、或痛苦等── 只须观察着它的出现,不可与之交涉或作出任何反应,不多久,你会十分惊奇,它竟静悄悄地离开了。它会生起、然后消失,就是如此简单。

There is another word for 'self-discipline'. It is 'Patience'.

「自律」有另一个名称,那就是「忍耐」。


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