學佛的整體性 林鈺堂 簡繁轉換 - 繁體
Totality of Dharma Practices
Practicing Dharma is not merely comprehending Dharma theories, one needs to absorb the teachings into one’s own central views, and then apply them in Dharma practices and into daily life activities. Thus harmonizing one’s body and mind whole-heartedly in life constitutes genuine Dharma practices aiming at attainment of Enlightenment and salvation of all mother-like sentient beings. This is the meaning of the title of this work.
Dharma practitioners in general could hardly avoid the heavy burden of accumulated habitual tendencies, and hence during the course of their Dharma practices they often overlook the central teachings of Dharma: impermanence, non-self, no grasping, and altruism, and they even exhibit self-centered behaviors in many ways. No wonder there is criticism on this, that goes as saying: The longer one practices Dharma, the further away one deviates from the enlightenment path.
In this essay some frequently observed mistakes will be pointed out, so as to provide a mirror for serious practitioners to reflect on themselves; the author has no intention to criticize anyone.
1. Paying No Heed to Teacher’s Words
Even though having taken refuge in a Dharma teacher, one still decide on one’s actions based on personal judgments. Even on matters related to the Dharma, one still sets the standards according to one’s comprehension. This kind of attitude cannot receive the fruits born of long-term practitioner’s accumulated experiences, but can easily sever the causal connections with Dharma teachers. Without humbling oneself first, how could one realize ″non-self″?
2. Competing for Attention and Blocking Others
Of course it is correct to recognize the importance of revering, attending, and making offerings to Dharma teachers; however, under the spell of the habit of self-esteem, one eagerly pushes oneself forward for attention and favors, and even tries to block others, thus one is enhancing grasping to one’s ″self″ and embarking on the opposite direction to enlightenment. Others are also among the mother-like sentient beings that a Dharma practitioner would like to help attain full enlightenment; If one stands up against them, how could one then render oneself being escaped from Samsara and attained emancipation? Not to mention attaining Buddhahood.
3. Indulging in Self-esteem
It is certainly proper for a Dharma practitioner to stay far away from worldly engagements and live in solitude to concentrate on Dharma practices, so that one may sooner attain realization of attainments and then be able to benefit sentient beings on an extensive scale. However, during the course of one’s Dharma practices participation in Dharma activities that could benefit others is also very important and should not be ignored. This is because such activities could help one develop genuine Bodhicitta, instead of mere verbal expressions, and help one accumulate stocks of merits; and these are also important causal conditions that will help attainment of full enlightenment. If, after long years of engaging in Dharma practices, one becomes prone to staying alone by oneself and displaying an aloof attitude toward others, and gradually showing lack of respect for one’s teachers and displeasure in joining others, then one has deviated into the tip of an ox horn!
4. Cold and Warm Faces
Among a Dharma group of fellow practitioners, to those whom one considers as important and beneficial one is very friendly and warm, while to the rest one shows a cold face and haggle over minute matters—any slight violation sensed will be treated as enemy invasion. How could the Great Compassion which is universally fair to all sentient beings be cultivated in this way? If one could not open one’s mind equally to a few that is right here in front of one, how could one have Compassion to embrace all sentient beings?
May reminders cited above help serious Dharma practitioners to reflect more often over the key points of Dharma teachings: impermanence, non-self, no grasping, and altruism, and thereby help awaken them from their habitual tendencies of ″grasping to self″! Only then will they be able to taste the genuine fruits of practicing Dharma.
Written in Chinese and translated into English on July 29, 2016