主講:淨空老法師

時間:二〇〇六年十月九日

地點:法國巴黎聯合國教科文組織總部





敬愛的法寶法師,泰國的大使,祕書長。我們剛才聽了大家的談話,我也很有感觸。這次大會能夠圓滿成功,是許許多多人在將近一百天的時間,有人在巴黎,有人在世界其他各個地區,晝夜不休息的在努力。我所曉得的,這次展覽一些預備結緣的書籍、資料,不但是耗費許多金錢,人力消耗得更大,使我們非常的感激。我們知道這種犧牲奉獻是值得的,讓佛教能夠走進聯合國的總部,讓聯合國肯定了佛教的存在。

佛陀在《華嚴經》裡面教導我們,說「一切眾生皆有如來智慧德相」,德是德能,相是相好,「但以妄想執著而不能證得」。所以曾經有許多人問過我,「佛在哪裡?」「佛是什麼?」我們為了解答這個問題,特別製作了一個光碟「凡聖迷悟示意圖」。佛在哪裡?每個人的本性就是佛。在佛法裡面稱為法性,智覺稱為佛性,法性跟佛性是一個性。這個在法相唯識有許多經論說明這個事實的真相。只要我們把妄想分別執著放下,你就是佛;如果妄想分別執著統統都存在,沒有放下,你叫凡夫,或者叫你作糊塗佛,因為你有妄想分別執著,你確實是佛,是糊塗佛。放下執著,稱為阿羅漢,再放下分別,稱為菩薩,妄想再放下,就是佛陀。所以一切眾生本來成佛。這個光碟在此地分發流通,希望諸位多看看。你要是用真誠心去體會,肯定會開悟。悟了之後就是佛菩薩。

這次我們在此地辦這個活動的主要目標是兩樁事情,這兩樁事情都是有助於化解衝突,促進世界的安定和平。第一樁就是宗教的團結。在去年我跟馬來西亞馬哈迪先生討論一些問題,談到世界和平能不能落實?我的答案是肯定的,可以落實。落實的方法,團結宗教是個祕訣,只要宗教團結了,肯定會影響政治、影響族群,能夠達到安定和平。馬哈迪對我這個看法他非常贊成,很肯定,所以隨後他就邀請我參加去年十二月在吉隆坡的一個國際論壇。論壇有四天,主要還是討論這些問題。

第二樁事情,我這次是第九次參加國際和平會議,這次也是國際和平會議,深深感覺到中國人有一句諺語說「會而不議」,我們議了,「議而不決」,我們也有了決議,可是後面是「決而不行」,沒有法子落實。所以多少次的會議當中我都做主題的發言,會後很多朋友告訴我:法師,你的理想很好,做不到,只是理想而已。理想做不到就是空想、就是妄想。所以我們才在湯池這個小鎮做了一個實驗,這個實驗是用我們中國五千年傳統的教學,「建國君民,教學為先」。建國君民的範圍就大了,這個君是領導的意思,建立一個國家領導全國人民,什麼最重要?教學最重要。這句話如果引伸出來,在世界上世出世間法,任何一法都要把教學擺在第一,離開教學就沒有辦法成就。什麼原因?離開教學之後,人一定是在習性上發展,而在本性上是愈來愈遠,哪有成功的可能!唯有教學的方法能夠幫助人從習性回歸到本性,那就世出世間法沒有一樁事情不能成就。

所以這個工作,昨天我跟祕書長,時間雖然不長,我們討論這個問題,要想世界達到永久和平,這個目標能夠實現,最好是聯合國發起成立一個世界宗教大學,以後全世界的宗教,宗教的領導人、宗教的傳教師,都是同學的關係。在這個學校裡,不但要深入自己專修的教義,同時也能旁通所有的宗教,然後我們才真正看到真神如何的愛世人。如果不是面面都觀察到,我們等於神愛世人、上帝愛世人總是有欠缺,沒有看到完整的。好像這個球,只看到這一面,沒有看到背後一面,於是產生了很多磨擦、很多誤會,這都是沒有必要的。

所以我們從事於宗教教學必須要學習不同宗教的教義。學習他們的教義要以他們的身分,不能說我是佛教徒,我去研究基督教,那是外教,這個你就對於基督教的精神永遠不能夠理解,要用什麼態度?我是虔誠的基督徒,我是摩西、耶穌的好學生,我才能夠體會到他們真正精神的義理。所以我常說釋迦牟尼佛是我的老師,耶穌也是我的老師,穆罕默德也是我的老師,每個宗教的創教人都是我的老師,我是一個很好的學生,所以我才能夠融會貫通,才能夠真正體會到佛陀的慈悲,真主的仁慈,上帝的愛,神的愛,真正體會到。

神聖的愛如果沒有形象,那是抽象的、是空洞的。上帝的愛如何落實?真主的仁慈怎麼落實?要我們去把它做到,我們代替真主,代替上帝,代替佛陀,把大慈大悲大愛去關心全世界所有一切眾生。不僅是人,還包括動物、植物,乃至於礦物、山河大地。愛心遍法界,善意滿娑婆。你想想看,宇宙是和諧的,地球是和諧的,哪有眾生不和諧的道理。不和諧是違背了性德,違背了神聖的教誨。

所以我們希望從這次會議在聯合國開始,往後每個宗教徒我們是一家人。現在媒體的發達,交通的便捷,真的地球變成一個村莊了。我在許許多多國家地區弘法教學,很多人問我:法師,你是哪裡人?我說我是地球人,我們都是同鄉,我們都是一家人。現在事實確實是如此,我們一定要肯定,不要再分國籍,不要再分族群,不要再分宗教,我們大家都是一家人,相親相愛,互相尊重,互助合作,來共同創造神的世界,基督教、天主教講的天堂,伊斯蘭教講的天園,佛法講的極樂世界、華藏世界,要我們去創造,把地球變成佛國。我的話就說到此地,謝謝大家。

  • Love is the perfect practice of the Ten Virtuous Deeds and of the teachings in The Standards for Being a Good Student and Child.
  • Love is the true mind, the true nature, the ultimate reality, and Dharma-nature. Love is one’s nature, innate goodness, purity, and pure virtuousness.
  • Love is the truth, true essence, life, and eternity.
  • Love is sacredness, God, Allah, and the Holy Spirit.
  • Love nurtures everything in the universe. Everything originates and grows from love.
  • Love is the source of all virtues, all powers, and all happiness.

What Buddhas and sages realized and gained is love for self. What they taught is love for others. The teaching of all sages is the teaching of sincerity, love, and the standards of behavior in life as enunciated in The Standards for Being a Good Student and Child and in the Ten Virtuous Deeds. The teaching of all sages is the inheritance of human wisdom and experience as well as the heritage of world civilizations.

The first goal of ancient Chinese education was to ensure that the affection between parents and children would remain unchanged during their lifetimes. The second goal was to enhance this sincere love and to expand its scope to include the family, brothers and sisters, the community, society, the country, humankind, and even all beings. One should love not only humankind but also animals, trees, flowers, and grass. This was the concept, and it was the desired goal of Chinese education to expand the scope of this love.

Chinese education i s a teaching of benevolence and justice, love, and supreme harmony. It does not teach one to compete for selfish gain. Therefore, children should be taught to give precedence to others at a young age. In addition to learning to refrain from competing with others, they should also learn to sacrifice themselves. It is different from today’s education, which starts teaching competition in kindergarten. Competition denotes selfishness. When children are taught to compete for recognition and selfish gain at a young age and are instilled with the concept of benefiting oneself at the expense of others, as grownups they will not realize that bene ting oneself at the expense of others is wrong. Therefore, the teaching of love teaches people to love others as they love themselves, always thinking about making sacrifices and about serving others— society, the country, and all beings. When doing so, they never consider their own interests. The teaching of the sages starts from here.

The most famous example of education in China is the prenatal education advocated by three queen consorts, Taijiang, Tairen, and Taisi, of the Zhou dynasty. Tairen, mother of King Wen, knew that her thoughts, speech, and behavior would have an impact on the fetus. According to historical records, Tairen would not look at anything that was not virtuous or listen to anything that conveyed evil thoughts. She spoke softly, and her speech and behavior were never arrogant or angry. She was deeply aware that her thoughts, speech, and behavior would have an impact on the fetus.

Education of children should start from pregnancy. Although many parents may not try to exert good influence on their children before birth, they know that after a baby is born it will be influenced by what it sees and hears. Regardless of whether a baby is able to understand, as soon as it opens its eyes it will see and hear, and it starts learning and imitating. Doing so is its nature, and nature is “dao” [the path]. At this time, the parents should exert positive influence on the baby, and this is teaching of “de” [virtue] or teaching of morality.

Fully aware of the importance of childhood education, the mother of Mencius moved three times in order to provide a good learning environment for her son. Originally, they lived close to a graveyard. At a young age, Mencius amused himself by learning how to bury the dead. Feeling that her son was not learning something good, she moved near a market. However, her son began to learn from the butchers at the market how to butcher a pig and sell pork. Seeing this, the mother moved again. This time she moved near a school. Mencius started to learn how to properly greet people, how to bow, and how to study. Seeing that her son was learning something good, she finally settled down there. The mother of Mencius moved three times to provide a good learning environment for her son, and she truly did a good job on childhood education because Mencius became a sage whose greatness was considered second only to that of Confucius in China’s academia.

Mencius learned from Confucius. At that time, Confucius had already passed away, but he left behind his writings. Mencius was the first person in China to learn from the teachings of a deceased person. Therefore, if one cannot find a good teacher, one can study a deceased person’s works. There were Confucius’ third-generation students around. Having an inquisitive mind, Mencius would go to ask them anything he did not understand in his study. He succeeded in his learning and cultivation of virtues, and he made outstanding contributions to Chinese culture.

In his lifetime, Mencius upheld Confucian ethics and teachings, opposed selfishness, and advocated benevolence, justice, and morality. However, the rulers or kings of his time did not adopt his propositions. What was the reason? It was because Mencius lived in the Warring States period (Confucius lived in the Spring and Autumn period), a time when people gradually attached importance to competition for recognition and selfish gain, and were used to turmoil and wars. The situation then was similar to today’s world. Mencius felt very distressed when he saw all this. As no ruler would adopt his propositions, he dedicated himself to teaching, imparting his wisdom, experience, morals, and viewpoints to future sages.

An objective analysis will reveal that Buddha Sakyamuni surpassed Confucius in wisdom and insight. Buddha Sakyamuni was a prince, and if he had wanted to implement his ideas through political means he was in a position to do so. But he gave up his throne, power, and wealth, content to live an ascetic life. For the rest of his life, he engaged in multicultural social education. This is the conduct of a sage. If we observe carefully, what he did in his life is perfectly correct. He set the best example for us to follow. This is his greatest contribution to humanity.

Originally, Confucius and Mencius wished to have legitimate authority, as did the Duke of Zhou, so that they could fulfill their aspirations and benefit people. This was a manifestation, or taking on a role. Buddha Sakyamuni likewise took on a role to teach people to refrain from competing for recognition, selfish gain, wealth, power, and social position. It is because the best way to serve people is to teach them. This would benefit individuals, families, society, countries, and the world. What Buddha Sakyamuni did required great insight and wisdom, not something an ordinary man could have done. Buddha Sakyamuni was thorough in what he did.

All sages have their way of doing things and they are correct in doing things that way. We should clearly observe and consider all viewpoints. Then we will be able to uncover our wisdom and to truly learn the virtues and abilities that we should learn. It is inappropriate to say that Confucius was wrong to seek a position at the imperial court and that Buddha Sakyamuni was correct to renounce worldly attachments. Both of them were correct; they simply had different ways of doing things. We must learn from different people to make our learning complete. If one has position or power, one should work conscientiously while maintaining a pure mind as Buddha Sakyamuni did. This way, one will achieve perfection in his undertakings.

The teachings of Mahayana Buddhism emphasize perfect harmony, perfect wisdom, perfect undertakings, and perfect merits. People today should try to appreciate this point and learn from the teachings. Only the sages’ teaching of wisdom can help us improve ourselves. Buddhism, teaches us to eliminate our afflictions and bad habits. In other words, we are to correct our wrong thoughts, wrong mindsets, wandering thoughts, discrimination, and attachments, and accord with the rules of nature and the order in which nature functions. We should understand the relationship between the entire universe and the rules of nature: the ultimate truth is that everything is indeed one entity and is harmonious. The universe and we are one entity.