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修行 On Cultivation
 
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修行
ON CULTIVATION

文 真如弗 by Jennifer Lin

What is cultivation?
Cultivation is to advance simultaneously in one’s understanding and practice.
It is the integration of one’s knowledge and practice.
Reciting Sutras and bowing to the Buddhas is cultivation.
Speaking Dharma and observing the precepts is cultivation.
Sweeping and cooking is also cultivation.
Even wearing clothes, eating, and sleeping are all cultivation.

什么是修行?
修行就是行解并进,知行合一。
诵经礼佛——是修行。
讲法持戒——是修行。
扫地煮饭——亦是修行。
就是穿衣,吃饭,睡觉,也无一不是在修行。

What is meant by knowledge? Whether the Buddhist scriptures were transmitted by mouth, as in ancient times, or written in words on paper, as today, people have always learned them through hearing or seeing them. This is what is commonly thought of as “knowledge.” Actually, these are only teachings that rely on language and speech. There is also the wordless teaching of “teaching by doing,” and the soundless teaching of experience. These are known as “practice.” Through the teaching afforded by the conduct of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Patriarchs, we may extend our knowledge. Then, through our own practice and experience, we can go a step further and verify our (theoretical) knowledge. Hence while knowledge and practice appear to be different, they are actually inseparable. If you know but don't practice, it becomes empty theory. If you practice without knowing, you are acting in blind confusion. The function of knowledge is to enable one's to practice, and the function of practice is to verify one's knowlege. As to the external appearance, it is because of knowledge that we can practice, and because of practice that our knowledge can expand. In terms of the essence, knowledge is just practice, and practice is just knowledge. The two are one and the same, indivisible.

怎么是知?三藏十二部,从古代的口耳相传,莲偈贝书,以迄现今白纸黑字,总不外是经由视听以进入心识,这是一般人所认同的「知」;其时那只是言字教或言教,尚有一种是无言的身教和无声的体验,那也就是所谓的「行」。佛菩萨和祖师大德们以其身教,让我们致知;而我们又从身体力行的经验中,进一步证知。所以「知」「行」看似两样,其实不分。知者不行,流于空谈虚论;行而不知,谓之愚昧盲从。就其用功,知为能行,行为证知;就其表相,因知而行,因行致知;就其本体,知即是行,行即是知。二而为一,不可划分。

For this reason, reciting Sutras and bowing to the Buddhas is cultivation; speaking Dharma and observing the precepts is cultivation; and sweeping and cooking is also cultivation. Even wearing clothes, eating, and sleeping are all cultivation. Some people worry that because of their work, they won't have time to cultivate. Others fear that teaching in school will hinder their cultivation. Such people have distorted and misunderstood the true meaning of cultivation. As it's said, “Purify your own mind. This is the teaching of all Buddhas.” In our daily life, from the external to the internal aspects, from the general to the particular, from the small to large--whetherwe are eating, drinking, relieving ourselves, sleeping, studying, working, or doing public service--as long as our mind is completely focused on what we are doing right at that moment, we can be said to have achieved “skill.” If we can be that way every day, practicing it over a long period of time, that is “progress.” “Skillful progress” or vigorous effort is what we need in cultivation. The “skill” is our knowledge, and the “progress” is what we have to achieve in practice. The “progress” comes from what we already know, and the “skill” is what we must practice. For example, when we are getting dressed or eating, we should not be greedy or scattered, but should vow that we and all living beings obtain the clothing of gentleness and patience, and take the bliss of Dhyana as food. That is cultivation. When we are studying or teaching, if we avoid thoughts of anger and laxness, and vow that we and all living beings will develop great wisdom and derive great benefit from the Dharma, that is also cultivation. In making friends and doing business, if we avoid foolish and deluded thoughts, and vow that we and living beings will meet good teachers who can apply skillful means, we are also cultivating. When sweeping floors or paving a road, we vow that living beings will attain the Ground of Leaving Filth and reach the Ground of Not Moving. When patching leaks and repairing a house, we vow that living beings will attain the Three Kinds of Non-Outflow and sit in the Thus Come One's seat. We avoid making all sorts of calculations on our own behalf, and we don't hold any grudges against others. These are all ways in which we can cultivate.

质是之故,诵经礼佛是修行,讲法持戒是修行,扫地煮饭亦是修行,就是穿衣、吃饭、睡觉,也无一不是在修行。有人怕做工没时间修行,有人怕教书妨碍修行,这是把修行的真谛曲解了!所谓「自净其意,是诸佛教。」日常生活中,从表至里,由粗而精,自小及大不论是个人的吃喝拉睡、读书、工作,或为公家的服务,只要在做的那一剎那是心志纯净、不杂,不乱,那就是「精」;日日如是,恒常以行,那就是「进」。精进便是修行的原则,若「精」是所知,「进」是当行;「进」是已知,「精」是必行。譬如说穿衣吃饭,不起贪念,杂念,但愿我及众生:得柔和忍辱衣、能以禅悦为食;那是修行。又譬如说念书教书,不生瞋心、懈怠心,但愿我及众生:开大智慧、得大法利;那是修行。再譬如说交朋友,做生意,不做痴想、妄想,但愿我及众生:逢善知识,遇大方便;那还是修行。扫地铺路,当愿众生:登离垢地、到不动地;补漏修屋、当愿众生:得三无漏、坐如来座。对自己,不起百千种思虑;对他人,不生万亿种计较,无论做什么,都是修行。

If we say that “cultivation comes first, and work comes second,” it's to be feared that some people will misunderstand and think, “Do you mean we should set aside our jobs and bury ourselves in the Sutras, Shastras, and Vinaya? Or that we should hide ourselves in the crowd at the Buddha hall and pay no attention to the affairs of the world?” No. As we said before, work itself is cultivation. But many people start out working for the sake of cultivation or for the sake of making a contribution. But once they begin working, their intrinsic attachments and old habits and faults reappear, and the farther they go the deeper they get. Thinking they are fulfilling their responsibilities, they are anxious to make a good impression. But eventually they end up working just for the sake of working,just for the sake of impressing others, or just for the sake of fame and profit. On a small scale they indulge in personal prejudices and gossip; on a more serious scale they contend and form factions based on jealousy and obstructiveness. Not only do they neglect their daily ceremonies and their personal practices, they forget completely the inner cultivation of the mind. Although they are Buddhists, they are more impolite and have less understanding of matters and principles than non-Buddhists. They are supposed to be spiritual, but they act more worldly than ordinary people. Cultivation becomes a mere slogan, and they use their work as an excuse not to cultivate. Their actions and gestures are no different from those of worldly people. Their thoughts are filled with worldly ideas and views. Not only can they not purify and concentrate their minds, they don't even bother to do small good deeds, but carelessly do small evil deeds as they please. The Six Principles of “no contending, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuit of personal advantage, and no lying” have long since been forgotten. This style of working cannot be considered cultivation. On the contrary, it should be called “falling.”

现在我们说「修行第一,工作第二」,恐怕又有人要误会:是不是教我们都放下工作,赶快钻到经论藏丛中,或躲到佛殿人堆里,不问世事?不是的!诚如方才所说,工作本身就是修行!但是却有很多人,起初为了修行而工作,为了贡献而工作;一工作,本然的执着心就起了,旧有的习气毛病也复苏了,而且越陷越深。自以为尽责,只急于表现,到最后竟演变成为工作而工作,为表现而工作,甚至为争名夺利而工作。微小者妄计人我,闲论是非;甚焉者忌妒障碍、分裂斗争。不要说是忽略了有形有相的随众日课仪轨,和自我的修持功课,连内心的修行也忘得一乾二净。学佛的比不学佛的不懂礼貌、不通事理,出世的比入世的更入世。于是乎修行流于口号,做事成为挡箭牌。举手投足间,无异于世俗人;心行思路中,也充斥着世间法。莫说不能自净其意、专一其心,连起码的小善也不为,小恶则为所欲为。所谓「不争、不贪、不求、不自私、不自利、不打妄语」的六大宗旨,自然早已抛出脑后了!像这样的工作法,就不叫修行,也谈不上修行。相反的,应该称之为「堕落」。

Therefore, in the statement “cultivation comes first, and work comes second,” we should interpret cultivation broadly as including work within its scope, as being the continuous integration of knowledge and practice. This is the essential meaning of cultivation, and it should not be mixed up with the narrow sense of work not being cultivation.

故所谓的「修行第一、工作第二」是指包括工作在内的广义修行,是念兹在兹、知行合一的修行;以此修行为首要,而不让狭义的工作观念,混淆了修行的真谛!


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