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Mindfulness In Plain English - Chapter 3: What Meditation Is
 
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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 3: What Meditation Is

第三章 禅修正义

Meditation is a word, and words are used in different ways by different speakers. This may seem like a trivial point, but it is not. It is quite important to distinguish exactly what a particular speaker means by the words he uses. Every culture on earth, for example, has produced some sort of mental practice which might be termed meditation. It all depends on how loose a definition you give to that word. Everybody does it, from Africans to Eskimos. The techniques are enormously varied, and we will make no attempt to survey them. There are other books for that. For the purpose of this volume, we will restrict our discussion to those practices best known to Western audiences and most likely associated with the term meditation.

「禅修」是一个词,像其他词一样,常被不同的人以不同的方式来运用。这说法似乎微不足道,实则不然。能分辨出某讲者所用的字或词之实质意义,是相当重要的。地球上的每一个文化,似乎都有产生某类可称之为「禅修」的心智修习,其意义的宽紧,全视乎你给它所下的定义。世界各地的有关技巧,相互间的差异都很大,我们不想一一去考察它们,已有很多专书做过了。因此,为了达到本书之目的,我们想把范围缩细,只论述西方读者最熟悉的、经常与「禅修」一词相提并论的修习方法。

Within the Judeo-Christian tradition we find two overlapping practices called prayer and contemplation. Prayer is a direct address to some spiritual entity. Contemplation in a prolonged period of conscious thought about some specific topic, usually a religious ideal or scriptural passage. From the standpoint of mental culture, both of these activities are exercises in concentration. The normal deluge of conscious thought is restricted, and the mind is brought to one conscious area of operation. The results are those you find in any concentrative practice: deep calm, a physiological slowing of the metabolism and a sense of peace and well-being.

在犹太教与基督教所共有的传统中,我们发现有两种互相重叠的修习:「祈祷( Prayer)」与「冥想(Contemplation)」。「祈祷」是向一个灵体的直接说话,「冥想」则是针对某一主题:通常是一个宗教理念或某段经文,而进行的长时间的有意识的沉思。从心智培育的观点来看,两种活动都是有关定力或集中力的练习。它们限制如洪水般的念头,只让心意在某一意识范围内运作,结果与其他定力或集中力的修习相同:感觉非常平静、生理上的新陈代谢减慢、有一种安静、幸福的感觉。

Out of the Hindu tradition comes Yogic meditation, which is also purely concentrative. The traditional basic exercises consist of focusing the mind on a single object a stone, a candle flame, a syllable or whatever, and not allowing it to wander. Having acquired the basic skill, the Yogi proceeds to expand his practice by taking on more complex objects of meditation chants, colorful religious images, energy channels in the body and so forth. Still, no matter how complex the object of meditation, the meditation itself remains purely an exercise in concentration.

从印度传统中出现了瑜伽禅修法,它也是纯綷的定力训练。传统上的基本练习,是要集中心意于一个对象上,对象可以是一块石头、一支烛火、一个音节等等,同时不让心意四处游荡或胡思乱想。基本训练成功后,瑜伽行者便要扩大修习范围,以较复杂的对象来修习,例如:专心唱诵祈祷文、忆念彩色的宗教性图象、注意体内的气脉(Energy Channels) 等。不过,无论对象有多么复杂,这种禅修仍只是定力或集中力的练习而已。

Within the Buddhist tradition, concentration is also highly valued. But a new element is added and more highly stressed. That element is awareness. All Buddhist meditation aims at the development of awareness, using concentration as a tool. The Buddhist tradition is very wide, however, and there are several diverse routes to this goal. Zen meditation uses two separate tacks. The first is the direct plunge into awareness by sheer force of will. You sit down and you just sit, meaning that you toss out of your mind everything except pure awareness of sitting. This sounds very simple. It is not. A brief trial will demonstrate just how difficult it really is. The second Zen approach used in the Rinzai school is that of tricking the mind out of conscious thought and into pure awareness. This is done by giving the student an unsolvable riddle which he must solve anyway, and by placing him in a horrendous training situation. Since he cannot flee from the pain of the situation, he must flee into a pure experience of the moment. There is nowhere else to go. Zen is tough. It is effective for many people, but it is really tough.

在佛教的传统中,定力也备受重视,不过,在禅修中加入了一个新的、更为着重的元素,那就是觉知力或觉察力。所有佛教禅修皆是以发展觉知力为目标,并以定力作为辅助工具。然而,佛教传统相当宽广,至今已发展了多种途径,它们都可达到此目标。日本的禅宗(Zen)有两种不同的修法:第一种是以坚强的意志力直接投入,全神贯注于觉知之中,你坐下之后,就只管坐着,摒除心内一切杂念,不管别的,只保持坐的觉知。这修法看似简单,实则不然,你只须照上述修法稍坐片刻,就可证明它的难度了。第二种是临济宗(RinzaiSchool)的修法,它设法诱导心意,走出有意识的思维,进入纯粹的觉知之中。实修时,学员要设法解决一个无法解决的谜语,他被置于可怕的训练环境之中,由于无法逃避困苦,他唯有被迫进入当下的纯粹经验之中,没有他途。禅宗是严苛的,它对不少人有效,可是它的确是困难的。

Another stratagem, Tantric Buddhism, is nearly the reverse. Conscious thought, at least the way we usually do it, is the manifestation of ego, the you that you usually think that you are. Conscious thought is tightly connected with self-concept. The self-concept or ego is nothing more than a set of reactions and mental images which are artificially pasted to the flowing process of pure awareness. Tantra seeks to obtain pure awareness by destroying this ego image. This is accomplished by a process of visualization. The student is given a particular religious image to meditate upon, for example, one of the deities from the Tantric pantheon. He does this in so thorough a fashion that he becomes that entity. He takes off his own identity and puts on another. This takes a while, as you might imagine, but it works. During the process, he is able to watch the way that the ego is constructed and put in place. He comes to recognize the arbitrary nature of all egos, including his own, and he escapes from bondage to the ego. He is left in a state where he may have an ego if he so chooses, either his own or whichever other he might wish, or he can do without one. Result: pure awareness. Tantra is not exactly a game of patty cake either.

另一种策略为佛教的密宗(Tantric Buddhism)所用,它与上述的方法刚好相反。有意识的思维,至少是我们常做的方式,是一种「自我(Ego)」的表现,是你通常自以为是的「你」。有意识的思维与「自我概念(Self-concept)」紧密联系,「自我概念」或「自我」不过是一组内心反应与形象,被人为地贴在纯粹觉知的流动过程上而已。密宗试图以破坏这个自我形象的方法来获得此纯粹觉知,这是靠观想(Visualization)过程来实现的。学员的禅修对象是一个特定的宗教形像,例如:密宗神殿内的某一神明或本尊(Deity),他要彻底令自己变成那个神明或本尊,他要放下自己的身份,扮演另一身份。可以想像,这需要一段日子,但可以做到的。在这过程中,他能看到「自我」是怎样被建筑而成的;他认识到所有人(包括自己)的「自我」皆是任意的,于是可摆脱「自我」的束缚。在那状态中,他可以任意选择一个「自我」,例如:自己原来的、自己希望的、或是不取任何「自我」。结果是纯粹的觉知。由此可见,密宗的修法也非易事。

Vipassana is the oldest of Buddhist meditation practices. The method comes directly from the Sitipatthana Sutta, a discourse attributed to Buddha himself. Vipassana is a direct and gradual cultivation of mindfulness or awareness. It proceeds piece by piece over a period of years. The student's attention is carefully directed to an intense examination of certain aspects of his own existence. The meditator is trained to notice more and more of his own flowing life experience. Vipassana is a gentle technique. But it also is very , very thorough. It is an ancient and codified system of sensitivity training, a set of exercises dedicated to becoming more and more receptive to your own life experience. It is attentive listening, total seeing and careful testing. We learn to smell acutely, to touch fully and really pay attention to what we feel. We learn to listen to our own thoughts without being caught up in them.

内观或毗婆舍那(Vipassana)是佛教最古老的禅修方法,它直接来自佛陀宣说的《念处经(Satipatthana Sutta)》[1]。内观是一种对密切注意或觉知的直接和渐进式的培育方法,要经年累月地、一点一滴地不断进行;学员要谨慎地专注与密切检查自身存在(指身心)的某些层面,令自己察觉生活经验之流的能力不断增强。内观是一种温和的修法,却也是非常、非常的彻底。它是一套古老的、已编成法典的修心系统,一套专为逐渐增强你觉知自己生活经验能力的练习。它是留心倾听、专心观看与小心测试。我们学习敏锐地去闻(嗅)、完全地去接触,以及认真地去留意观察这些经验正在发生的改变。我们学习倾听自己的想法,小心不致陷入其中。

The object of Vipassana practice is to learn to pay attention. We think we are doing this already, but that is an illusion. It comes from the fact that we are paying so little attention to the ongoing surge of our own life experiences that we might just as well be asleep. We are simply not paying enough attention to notice that we are not paying attention. It is another Catch-22.

内观修习的目的,是要学习洞悉各种现象的实相,皆是无常、苦与无我。我们以为自己已经这么做了,其实是一种错觉;事实上,我们对汹涌而来的生活经验注意极少,几近睡眠状态,我们根本没有充分注意,故此觉察不出自己并没有注意。这是另一个两难的困局。

Through the process of mindfulness, we slowly become aware of what we really are down below the ego image. We wake up to what life really is. It is not just a parade of ups and downs, lollipops and smacks on the wrist. That is an illusion. Life has a much deeper texture than that if we bother to look, and if we look in the right way.

透过留意觉察的修习过程,我们会慢慢知道自己的实相,不再受表面的「自我」形象所迷惑。我们醒悟到生命的实相,它不仅是起落浮沉、好坏杂陈、棒棒糖与皮鞭拍击之表面上的展示而已,那是一种错觉。如果我们肯费心观察,并且方法正确,将发觉生命的内容特征,实比我们所知的较为细致深邃。

Vipassana is a form of mental training that will teach you to experience the world in an entirely new way. You will learn for the first time what is truly happening to you, around you and within you. It is a process of self discovery, a participatory investigation in which you observe your own experiences while participating in them, and as they occur. The practice must be approached with this attitude.

内观是一种心智训练方式,它教你用一种全新的方法去体验世界。你将开始学习了解真正发生在自己身上、在自己的周围,以及在自己内部的事情。它是一种「自我发现」的过程、一种参与性的审查,你是一面观察着自己的经验,一面参与其事的。修习时必须抱持以下态度:「勿理会先前学到的教导。忘掉理论、偏见与陈腔滥调。我想了解生命的真实本性。我想知道这活着的经验到底是怎么样的。我想领悟生命最深奥与真实的性质。我不想只是接受别人的解释就算,我要亲自见证。」

"Never mind what I have been taught. Forget about theories and prejudgments and stereotypes. I want to understand the true nature of life. I want to know what this experience of being alive really is. I want to apprehend the true and deepest qualities of life, and I don't want to just accept somebody else's explanation. I want to see it for myself." If you pursue your meditation practice with this attitude, you will succeed. You'll find yourself observing things objectively, exactly as they are--flowing and changing from moment to moment. Life then takes on an unbelievable richness which cannot be described. It has to be experienced.

你若持此态度禅修,一定会成功的。你发觉自己在观察事物时,能客观和如实── 它们在每一瞬间皆在流动与变迁,生命因而呈现出难以置信的丰盛,那是不可言喻的,必须亲自体会始得。

The Pali term for Insight meditation is Vipassana Bhavana. Bhavana comes from the root 'Bhu', which means to grow or to become. There fore Bhavana means to cultivate, and the word is always used in reference to the mind. Bhavana means mental cultivation. 'Vipassana' is derived from two roots. 'Passana' means seeing or perceiving. 'Vi' is a prefix with the complex set of connotations. The basic meaning is 'in a special way.' But there also is the connotation of both 'into' and 'through'. The whole meaning of the word is looking into something with clarity and precision, seeing each component as distinct and separate, and piercing all the way through so as to perceive the most fundamental reality of that thing. This process leads to insight into the basic reality of whatever is being inspected. Put it all together and 'Vipassana Bhavana' means the cultivation of the mind, aimed at seeing in a special way that leads to insight and to full understanding.

「内观禅修」的巴利文是Vipassana Bhavana,Bhavana 的字根是Bhu ,意思是「成长」或「成为」,因此Bhavana 的意思是「培育」,由于它常常与「心」字并用,所以Bhavana 又有「心智培育」的意思。Vipassana 则是由两个字根(Vi 与Passana)所组成。Passana 的意思是「看(Seeing)」或「感知(Perceiving)」, 而Vi 是一个具有复杂内涵的字首,粗略地可译为「以一种特殊的方式」,或是「进入与透过一种特殊的方式」。因此, Vipassana 的完整意思是:「向某事物的内部清楚而精确地观察,认清每一组成部分,向内一直突破,直至领悟到事物最根本的实相为止。」藉此过程,我们可洞悉任何被检视对象的根本实相。若把两个字合起来解,Vipassana Bhavana 的意思就是:培育心智,令能以一种特殊的方式来观察事物,最终达致(对事物根本实相的)洞悉与完全了解。

In Vipassana mediation we cultivate this special way of seeing life. We train ourselves to see reality exactly as it is, and we call this special mode of perception 'mindfulness.' This process of mindfulness is really quite different from what we usually do. We usually do not look into what is really there in front of us. We see life through a screen of thoughts and concepts, and we mistake those mental objects for the reality. We get so caught up in this endless thought stream that reality flows by unnoticed. We spend our time engrossed in activity, caught up in an eternal pursuit of pleasure and gratification and an eternal flight from pain and unpleasantness. We spend all of our energies trying to make ourselves feel better, trying to bury our fears. We are endlessly seeking security. Meanwhile, the world of real experience flows by untouched and untasted. In Vipassana meditation we train ourselves to ignore the constant impulses to be more comfortable, and we dive into the reality instead. The ironic thing is that real peace comes only when you stop chasing it. Another Catch-22.

在内观禅修中,我们培育这种观察生命的特殊方式,我们训练自己,使能精确、如实地看清楚事物的真相,我们称这种特殊的认知方式为「静观」。这种静观过程与我们日常所做的,实际上很不相同。我们通常是不会看清眼前事物的,而是透过思想概念等有色眼镜去看生命,常把心中影象误以为现实。我们如此地陷于不断起伏的思潮之中,乃致没有觉察到眼前流逝的现实。我们的时间都花在活动上,不停地追求欢乐与满足,以及不断地逃避痛苦与不快,乃至不能自拔。我们竭尽全力,试图令自己感觉得好些,试图掩饰自己的恐惧,以及不断寻求安稳。与此同时,实在的经验世界在我们身边溜走,没有被接触与品尝。在内观禅修中,我们训练自己,忽略持续追求舒适的冲动,转而向现实作深入的探究。讽刺的是,真的宁静只有在你停止追求它时才会出现── 这又是一个两难的困局。

When you relax your driving desire for comfort, real fulfillment arises. When you drop your hectic pursuit of gratification, the real beauty of life comes out. When you seek to know the reality without illusion, complete with all its pain and danger, that is when real freedom and security are yours. This is not some doctrine we are trying to drill into you. This is an observable reality, a thing you can and should see for yourself.

当你放下对舒适的渴求,确实的满足才会生起;当你放下对满足的忙乱追求,真正的美满人生才会出现。当你追求了解现实时,能够远离颠倒幻想,能够承担过程中的所有艰辛险阻,真正的解脱与安稳一定属于你的。这不是我们想灌输给你的一种教义,它是可以觉察得到的现实,也是你做得到且应该亲自了解、体验的事情。

Buddhism is 2500 years old, and any thought system of that vintage has time to develop layers and layers of doctrine and ritual. Nevertheless, the fundamental attitude of Buddhism is intensely empirical and anti-authoritarian. Gotama the Buddha was a highly unorthodox individual and real anti-traditionalist. He did not offer his teaching as a set of dogmas, but rather as a set of propositions for each individual to investigate for himself. His invitation to one and all was 'Come and See'. One of the things he said to his followers was "Place no head above your own". By this he meant, don't accept somebody else's word. See for yourself.

佛教已有二千五百多年的历史了,任何一个如此久远的思想体系,皆有时间开展出层层叠叠的教义与仪式。虽然如此,佛教的基本态度,始终都是强调经验(实践)与反对权威的。乔达摩佛陀不但不依正统,且是一位真正反传统的人物。他没有提供一堆教条来作为他的教导,而是提供一些建议,让大家来亲自审查,他经常邀请人们:「亲自来看吧!(Come and See)」。他向追随者说过:「不要在自己的头上安头!」他的意思是:不要一味接受和相信别人的话,要亲自去看!

We want you to apply this attitude to every word you read in this manual. We are not making statements that you would accept merely because we are authorities in the field. Blind faith has nothing to do with this. These are experiential realities. Learn to adjust your mode of perception according to instructions given in the book, and you will see for yourself. That and only that provides ground for your faith. Insight meditation is essentially a practice of investigative personal discovery.

我们希望你在阅读此书的每一个字时,都能抱持这种态度。我们一直没有作此宣称:「就因为我们是这领域的权威,你们一定要接受和相信。」因为这与盲信无关,全都是经验中的现实。若能学习依照本书指示,调教自己的认知方式,你自会亲身了解的。也唯有那样做,才能给信仰提供基础。基本上,内观禅修是一种探究性的、要你亲自去发现的修习。

Having said this, we will present here a very short synopsis of some of the key points of Buddhist philosophy. We make not attempt to be thorough, since that has been quite nicely done in many other books. This material is essential to understanding Vipassana, therefore, some mention must be made.

说到这里,我们想对佛教思想的一些要点作简略的介绍。我们不想详尽,因为许多书本已经做得很好了,不过,由于这些资料对了解内观十分重要,因此必须稍为一提。

From the Buddhist point of view, we human beings live in a very peculiar fashion. We view impermanent things as permanent, though everything is changing all around us. The process of change is constant and eternal. As you read these words, your body is aging. But you pay no attention to that. The book in you hand is decaying. The print is fading and the pages are becoming brittle. The walls around you are aging. The molecules within those walls are vibrating at an enormous rate, and everything is shifting, going to pieces and dissolving slowly. You pay no attention to that, either. Then one day you look around you. Your body is wrinkled and squeaky and you hurt. The book is a yellowed, useless lump; the building is caving in. So you pine for lost youth and you cry when the possessions are gone. Where does this pain come from? It comes from your own inattention. You failed to look closely at life. You failed to observe the constantly shifting flow of the world as it went by. You set up a collection of mental constructions, 'me', 'the book', 'the building', and you assume that they would endure forever. They never do. But you can tune into the constantly ongoing change. You can learn to perceive your life as an ever- flowing movement, a thing of great beauty like a dance or symphony. You can learn to take joy in the perpetual passing away of all phenomena. You can learn to live with the flow of existence rather than running perpetually against the grain. You can learn this. It is just a matter of time and training.

从佛教的角度看,我们人类的生活方式是很奇特的,我们视无常的事物为常,虽然周围的一切事物都在转变。转变的过程是持续不断的,甚至在你阅读这些文字时,你的身体正在老化,然而你根本没有在意。你手中的书正在腐烂,印刷正在褪色,纸质正在变脆;你周围的墙也在老化,墙内的组成分子正以极快的速率在震荡;每一事物都在迁移、解散与慢慢消失,而你也没有在意。不过,总有一天,你会环顾一下周围,然后突然发觉:自己的皮肤发皱了,关节也疼痛了;书本变成泛黄、褪色的东西,房屋也在土崩瓦解。于是你不禁缅怀逝去的青春,为失去的财物而哀伤痛哭。究竟这些痛苦从何而来?它们来自你的疏忽大意,你没有细心观察人生,你没有观察周围世界在不断迁流变化,你建立了一大堆心理结构──「我」、「书本」、「房屋」等,并且认为它们都是坚固的独立实体、永远也不会改变,其实它们并非如此。不过,现在你可以调节自己进入不断的转变,学习体察人生的持续流逝活动,学习体察因缘和合现象的持续流动。你做得到的,只是时间与训练的问题而已。

Our human perceptual habits are remarkably stupid in some ways. We tune out 99% of all the sensory stimuli we actually receive, and we solidify the remainder into discrete mental objects. Then we react to those mental objects in programmed habitual ways.

人类知觉上的习惯在某些地方是非常愚蠢的。我们漠视百分之九十九实际接收到的感官刺激,固定余下的百分之一为独立的心理现象(Mental Objects)[2],然后我们对那些独立的心理现象作出程式的惯常反应。

An example: There you are, sitting alone in the stillness of a peaceful night. A dog barks in the distance. The perception itself is indescribably beautiful if you bother to examine it. Up out of that sea of silence come surging waves of sonic vibration. You start to hear the lovely complex patterns, and they are turned into scintillating electronic stimulations within the nervous system. The process is beautiful and fulfilling in itself. We humans tend to ignore it totally. Instead, we solidify that perception into a mental object. We paste a mental picture on it and we launch into a series of emotional and conceptual reactions to it. "There is that dog again. He is always barking at night. What a nuisance. Every night he is a real bother. Somebody should do something. Maybe I should call a cop. No, a dog catcher. So, I'll call the pound. No, maybe I'll just write a real nasty letter to the guy who owns that dog. No, too much trouble. I'll just get an ear plug." They are just perceptual and mental habits. You learn to respond this way as a child by copying the perceptual habits of those around you. These perceptual responses are not inherent in the structure of the nervous system. The circuits are there. But this is not the only way that our mental machinery can be used. That which has been learned can be unlearned. The first step is to realize what you are doing, as you are doing it, and stand back and quietly watch.

例如:在一个寂静的夜晚,就只有你一个人坐着,远处的一只狗在吠,这件事本身实无好坏可言。在沉寂的夜空里突然冒出声浪,你开始听到美妙而复杂的模式,它们在神经系统内被转变为火花四射的电子刺激。这过程应被用作为一种无常、苦与无我的体验,可是作为人类的我们往往完全忽略了它。我们把这知觉固定为独立的心理现象,更在上面添油加醋,对它发动一连串的情绪思想反应:「又是那只狗,牠总是在晚上吠,真讨厌!牠每晚那么烦扰,该有人出来想个办法才是。也许我该报警,不!应通知捕捉游荡狗只的部门── 我要打电话给动物收容所。不!也许我应写封恶毒的信给狗主,不!那太麻烦了,我还是找对耳塞算了。」这些不过是知觉上的心理习惯而已,它们都是你自少模仿周围的人学到的反应方式。这些知觉上的反应不是我们的神经系统结构所固有的,线路是有的,但内心的机器并非只可作此用途。学到的东西是可以通过学习消除的,首先,你要在做的时候知道自己正在做什么,换言之,不可介入,要退后一步来静观其变。

From the Buddhist perspective, we humans have a backward view of life. We look at what is actually the cause of suffering and we see it as happiness. The cause of suffering is that desire- aversion syndrome which we spoke of earlier. Up pops a perception. It could be anything--a beautiful girl, a handsome guy, speed boat, thug with a gun, truck bearing down on you, anything. Whatever it is, the very next thing we do is to react to the stimulus with a feeling about it.

从佛教的角度来看,作为人类的我们,对人生确实有颠倒的见解,我们以真正的苦因为乐。「苦因」是我们前面(第一章)说过的「爱憎反应综合症(Desire-aversion Syndrome)」。一个感性知觉突然弹出,它可以是任何东西,例如:一个美女、一个俊男、一艘快艇、烘着的面包香味、在后面跟贴着你的货车等;无论它是什么,我们都会随之作出有关此感性刺激的情绪反应。

Take worry. We worry a lot. Worry itself is the problem. Worry is a process. It has steps. Anxiety is not just a state of existence but a procedure. What you've got to do is to look at the very beginning of that procedure, those initial stages before the process has built up a head of steam. The very first link of the worry chain is the grasping/rejecting reaction. As soon as some phenomenon pops into the mind, we try mentally to grab onto it or push it away. That sets the worry response in motion. Luckily, there is a handy little tool called Vipassana meditation which you can use to short-circuit the whole mechanism.

例如忧虑,我们非常忧虑,忧虑本身就是问题。忧虑是一个过程,它是有步伐的,忧虑不仅是一个存在状态,也是一个过程。你必须要做的,就是去观察那过程的最初起点,在过程演变成令你忧心忡忡前的那些初始阶段,忧虑锁链的第一个环节是「执着/排斥反应(Grasping-rejecting Reaction)」。当某现象在心内出现时,我们的内心就想执着它或是推走它,这就启动了忧虑的一连串反应。幸运地,就近有一个轻便、细小的工具,它的名字叫做内观禅,你可以利用它来大大缩短整个机制。

Vipassana meditation teaches us how to scrutinize our own perceptual process with great precision. We learn to watch the arising of thought and perception with a feeling of serene detachment. We learn to view our own reactions to stimuli with calm and clarity. We begin to see ourselves reacting without getting caught up in the reactions themselves. The obsessive nature of thought slowly dies. We can still get married. We can still step out of the path of the truck. But we don't need to go through hell over either one.

内观禅教导我们如何去详细和精确地考察自己的知觉过程。我们学习以安祥的超然态度,去观察知觉(Perception)与思想的生起,我们学习平静而清晰地观看自己对刺激的反应。久而久之,我们开始发现:自己可以在不受反应的困扰下作出回应,强迫性的思想反应也会慢慢消失。我们仍然可以结婚,我们仍然可以离开货车的惯常路径,而无须为此要经历地狱式的苦恼。

This escape from the obsessive nature of thought produces a whole new view of reality. It is a complete paradigm shift, a total change in the perceptual mechanism. It brings with it the feeling of peace and rightness, a new zest for living and a sense of completeness to every activity. Because of these advantages, Buddhism views this way of looking at things as a correct view of life and Buddhist texts call it seeing things as they really are.

能避免强迫性的思想反应,会对现实产生一种全新的看法,那是一种革命性的改变(Paradigm Shift),一种知觉机制上的完全改变,伴之而来的,是一种从强迫性困扰中解脱出来的深度喜乐。正因为这些效益,所以佛教视这种观看事物的方式为人生正见,佛教经典将之称为「如实观察事物(Seeing things as they really are)」或简称「如实观」。

Vipassana meditation is a set of training procedures which open us gradually to this new view of reality as it truly is. Along with this new reality goes a new view of the most central aspect of reality: 'me'. A close inspection reveals that we have done the same thing to 'me' that we have done to all other perceptions. We have taken a flowing vortex of thought, feeling and sensation and we have solidified that into a mental construct. Then we have stuck a label onto it, 'me'. And forever after, we threat it as if it were a static and enduring entity. We view it as a thing separate from all other things. We pinch ourselves off from the rest of that process of eternal change which is the universe. And than we grieve over how lonely we feel. We ignore our inherent connectedness to all other beings and we decide that 'I' have to get more for 'me'; then we marvel at how greedy and insensitive human beings are. And on it goes. Every evil deed, every example of heartlessness in the world stems directly from this false sense of 'me' as distinct from all else that is out there.

内观禅是一套训练程序,令我们一新耳目,如实现观事物的真相;与此同时,对于现实核心方面的「我」,亦有一全新领悟。仔细考察一下就可发现,我们处理「我」的方式实与处理其他知觉的(错误)方式一样;我们把旋转着的思想、感情与感觉之流固定为一心理结构(Mental Construct),然后标签它为「我」,并从此视之为一个静态的、恒久不变的实体,可以独存于其他一切事物之外。我们把自己从宇宙这一个永恒转变过程中擅自捏走,然后为自己的孤独而悲痛。我们忽略了自己与万物的内在联系,并且决定「我(I)」要为「我或自己(Me)」争取更多的东西,然后又对人类的贪婪与感觉迟钝而惊讶,于是,情况就如此地继续下去了。世上的每一个恶行、每一件冷酷无情的事例,都是源于「我」的错觉── 以为它是一个与万物分离的独立实体。

Explode the illusion of that one concept and your whole universe changes. Don't expect to do this overnight, though. You spent your whole life building up that concept, reinforcing it with every thought, word, and deed over all those years. It is not going to evaporate instantly. But it will pass if you give it enough time and enough attention. Vipassana meditation is a process by which it is dissolved. Little by little, you chip away at it just by watching it.

你若能爆破那个概念的错觉,你的整个世界都会改变。然而,不可期望在一夜间就能办到。因为,你花了一生时间去建立那个概念,又经年累月地用每一个思想言行去强化它,它是不会在一瞬间蒸发的。不过,只要你投入足够的时间与关注,它是会消失的。内观禅是溶解那个概念的一种修行过程,你只须观察着它,就可逐渐地把它铲除。

The 'I' concept is a process. It is a thing we are doing. In Vipassana we learn to see that we are doing it, when we are doing it and how we are doing it. Then it moves and fades away, like a cloud passing through the clear sky. We are left in a state where we can do it or not do it, whichever seems appropriate to the situation. The compulsiveness is gone. We have a choice.

「我」的概念是一个过程,一个不断地制造「我」的过程。透过内观,我们学习在制造「我」时当即知道在制造「我」,并且知道我们是如何制造「我」的;那么,那个心态(Mindset)[3]就会慢慢地离开和消散,像一片浮云飘过晴空一样。于是,我们被置于一种境界,在那里我们可以选择做或不做,全视乎当时的情况。强迫性离开了,我们可以有所选择了。

These are all major insights, of course. Each one is a deep- reaching understanding of one of the fundamental issues of human existence. They do not occur quickly, nor without considerable effort. But the payoff is big. They lead to a total transformation of your life. Every second of your existence thereafter is changed. The meditator who pushes all the way down this track achieves perfect mental health, a pure love for all that lives and complete cessation of suffering. That is not small goal. But you don't have to go all the way to reap benefits. They start right away and they pile up over the years. It is a cumulative function. The more you sit, the more you learn about the real nature of your won existence. The more hours you spend in meditation, the greater your ability to calmly observe every impulse and intention, every thought and emotion just as it arises in the mind. Your progress to liberation is measured in cushion-man hours. And you can stop any time you've had enough. There is no stick over your head except your own desire to see the true quality of life, to enhance your own existence and that of others.

这些都是重要的领悟,每一个领悟都是与人类存在的基本问题有关的深刻了解。它们不会很快出现,也不可能不劳而获。不过,回报是很大的,它可令你脱胎换骨,从此以后,你生存的每一秒钟都会改变。能于此道奋斗到底的禅修者将会证得完满的健康心智,一种纯净爱护众生之心,以及苦恼的完全止息。那可不是一个小目标,不过,你无需走毕全程才有收获,利益不但立竿见影,而且与时俱增。它是一个累增性的函数:你禅修得越多,就越了解自身存在的实相;禅修的时间越长,你就越能如实地静观心内生起的每一个冲动、意图、思想与情绪。你的解脱成就,是可以根据你的坐禅时间来衡量的。在禅修过程中,你若觉得已经足够时,随时都可以中止的,其中并无强制性的规则,只有你想了解自己生命的本质,以及改善自他生活质素的热忱而已。

Vipassana meditation is inherently experiential. It is not theoretical. In the practice of mediation you become sensitive to the actual experience of living, to how things feel. You do not sit around developing subtle and aesthetic thoughts about living. You live. Vipassana meditation more than anything else is learning to live.

内观禅本身是经验性的,不是理论性的。在禅修过程中,你对生活的真实体验、对事物的感受将会变得敏锐很多,你不会光是坐着去发展有关生活的崇高想法,你要去过生活。内观禅不是别的,正是学习去过生活。

【注释】

[1]《念处经(Satipatthana Sutta)》:亦称《念住经》。主要指南传藏经的中部第10经(MN-10)与长部第22经(DN-22)。北传藏经中也有甚为类似的经文,如中阿含第九十八经之《念处经》。这些经文是内观禅的根本经典,佛教与别不同的详细禅修技巧,就载于这些经典之中。内容主要教导我们如何修习四念处,即如何留意观察(静观)身、受、心、法等人生的四个方面,从而获得内观智慧,最终达致解脱内心的烦恼苦因。在中部第10经的《念处经》中,佛陀开宗明义就说:「比丘们!只有一条路可使众生清净、克服忧愁哀伤、灭除苦楚悲痛、达致正道、体证涅槃,这条路就是四念处。是哪四个念处呢?那就是,比丘在日常生活中:对于身体,须随时留意观察身体,如实了知,专注,精进,警觉,降伏对世间的贪瞋与悲痛。对于感受、心意与诸法,亦复如是。」由此可见其重要性了。传统认为,修习四念处可亲身观察到身体不净、感受皆苦、心念无常、以及诸法无我,从而破除我们内心所执着的四种(常、乐、我、净)颠倒见解,最终获得解脱。

[2] 独立的心理现象(Mental Objects):亦可称精神现象。佛教专称之为「心所有法」、「心所法」或「心所」等。例如:欲、信、精进、惭、愧、无贪、无瞋、无痴、轻安、不放逸、行舍、不害、贪、瞋、痴、慢、疑、恶见、忿、恨…… 等等善与不善的心态。

[3] 心态(Mindset):一个人或一些人所持有的一套根深柢固的假设(信念)、方法或标记符号,持有的人会不断采用或接受过往习以为常的行为、选择或工具。这种认知上的偏好往往难以有系统的、理性的分析或决策过程来抵消的。


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