Sunday, February 15, 2009

Remembering Master Sheng-Yeng 憶聖嚴法師

(English translation of this article can be found after the Chinese text)

自法鼓山的朋友在第 一時間傳來聖嚴法師捨報圓寂的消息後,身邊開始一連串的連鎖反應。幾位不常動筆的朋友,不管是不是佛教徒,都和我分享他們從法師受益的故事。(值得一提的 是文仁和我分享他佛青營的經驗,以及志源分享他在路上看到海報上「需要的不多,想要的太多」大受感動的經驗。)

我和聖嚴法師的因緣,也很 有趣。1984年前後,一位小時候很親近的老師帶我及另一位學生到農禪寺午齋,之後我們坐在圃團上聽聖嚴法師開示。(之後這位老師出家,對我有很大的啟 示)。後來一直要到2005年,我才又在美國紐約意外地再次見到聖嚴法師。2006年,有幸參加法師親自帶領的話頭十日禪。之後似乎法師健康狀況使他再沒 有機會親自到美國開示。至今,法師在開示時面對病痛的自在,仍對我有很大的啟發。

我身邊竟有這麼多人在這一生受到法師言行感動,這實在是一個偉大的心靈對這個時代影響的佳證。

雖 然我受到法師本人及法鼓山許多僧俗弟子法益良多,但我自己一直沒有求為法師的在家弟子。回想起來,和在自己的強烈自我意識有很大的關係。我在一個背誦四維 八德,青年十二守則,唱偉人歌曲,呼愛國口號的時代長大,對有口無心、格言化、口號化、造神運動等型式有種不知名的反感。但聖嚴法師帶領法鼓山這麼大的一 個組織,在這個時代傳法,不免要順應這個時代的需求,用這個時代最多人能接受的方式為之。之前提到與佛教完全無瓜葛的好友志源竟能從海報上一句話感應(這 讓我聯想到「應無所住,而生其心」的惠能)。比較起來,我的驕執讓我損失大了。

法師的遺言,顯出大修行人的智慧。下面這一段:「六、在我 身後,請林其賢教授夫婦,將我的「年譜」,補至我捨壽為止,用供作為史料,並助後賢進德參考。故請勿再編印紀念集之類的出版物了。」,讓我想起佛滅時,弟 子問他身後的舍利子應如何處理,佛說「我教導的法才是你們要依行的重點,舍利就留給其他人去煩惱吧。」(註: 我實在記不得這段典出何處。漢傳的經典寫得是佛清楚交待舍利要怎麼安置供奉,我個人對該段有很大的懷疑。不過,也許我記得的版本也是浪漫化的。)

感念法師言教身教,為文表敬抒憶 。

(以下是本文英譯)

Some chain reactions around me seemed to be triggered by the news of Master Sheng-Yen's passing away, which was sent to me by friends from Dharma Drum Mountain soon after it happened. Many of my other friends, Buddhists or not, shared their stories about how Master inspired them, among which are Wen-Ren's sharing on his participation in Young Buddhist Camp back in his high school days, and Chi-Yuan's sharing of how he got inspired when he first saw the phrase "We don't need much; we just want too much" (a quote on Master Sheng-Yen) on a street poster.

My story with Master Sheng-Yen is interesting, too. Back around the year of 1984, a teacher I was close to brought me and another student to Nung Chan Monastery to visit. After a vegetarian lunch, we sat on meditation cushions listening to Master's dharma talk. The next time I saw Master Sheng-Yen was year 2005 in New York City. And in December 2006, I had the priviledge of participating in a 10-day Huatou meditation retreat, led by Master Sheng-Yen. I heard it was the last time he came to the US, due to his health condition. The image of him teaching, so at ease and pease, albeit in great discomfort, is still vivid and inspiring to me today.

The fact that so many people around me have been inspired by Master's teaching, is a good example of how a great mind influences a time.

I myself have benefited a lot from Master himself and his disciples, dharma-wise; yet I've never seeked to become a disciple under him. In retroflect, I think it had a lot to do with my ego. I grew up in a time full of propagandas -- we recited ethical codes daily, sang songs to praise the political leaders, and saw people idolize and worship the leaders. Having enough of those, I was not able to appreciate how Master Sheng-Yen, leading such a huge organization of Dharma Drum Mountain, had to come up with ways that a particular society is able to accept, to teach dharma. My friend Chi-Yuan had his moment of enlightment simply from a phrase on a street poster (I can't help think of the Hui-Neng's awakening upon hearing a phrase from Diamond Sutra). Compared to that kind of gain, I have lost big because of my pride and prejudice.

Master's will shows great wisdom of a great practioner, too. This paragraph, for example:

6. After I pass away, please request Professor Lin Qixian and his wife to complete the “Chronicle of Master Sheng Yen’s Life” up to the time of my death, as historical materials for the reference of future generations. Therefore, please do not compile or print any commemorative collections and the like.

reminds me of the story of Buddha when he was about to enter Parinirvana. One of his disciples asked him what to do with his relics. He said, "for you, what's important is my teaching. Leave the relics for those who are into them." (Note: I can't remember where I read this story. A sutra of Chinese Buddhist tradition describes how Buddha told his disciples what to do with his relics in details -- I highly doubt its authenticity. However, the version I prefer may have also been romanticized.)

With this article, I pay my great respect to Master and share my memories of him.

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