皈依菩提心

林钰堂


正式入佛门通常以皈依三宝来表示,也就是发心皈依佛陀、佛法及僧众。皈依的意义是认清了轮回世间六道的可怕,瞭解佛陀、佛法及僧众是出离轮回,达到究竟安乐的依护及指导,而发心仰赖之,以便修习解脱之道,而达到使一切众生都离苦得乐的菩提安乐。

密宗则加上皈依上师,而且是基于上师是佛陀的代表,佛法的开示者以及僧众中之直接传授者,这样三宝圆融于一身的体认。

修行者虽发心皈依三宝,却也难免遭遇困扰。初修者难以体会佛陀无时无处不在加持之恩光,因此皈依佛只是一时之信念。佛法奥妙,难以体会,更难融入生活中之一言一行,因此皈依法难免沦为对字句及形式之执取。僧众繁杂又多派系,甚至互相排斥,因此皈依僧也可能沦为盲从或陷入世间法之争斗。

基于个人多年实修之体验,认为实有必要提倡皈依菩提心。菩提心是希求一切众生皆得圆满解脱、究竟安乐、智悲圆融之志愿。佛陀是证菩提心者,佛法是修习菩提心之教示,僧众乃献身弘扬菩提心者。皈依菩提心,则圆摄皈依三宝,并包括皈依上师。修行过程中遇有种种「事与理违」之困扰,则唯有依赖是否合乎菩提心来决定修行者之行止、去从。皈依菩提心,亦即以合乎菩提心为修途之最高指导方针。愿献身实修者咸蒙皈依菩提心之义利!

                       
                     一九九七年九月廿四日
                     养和斋    于台北



Taking Refuge in the Bodhicitta

Taking Refuge in the Bodhicitta


Taking Refuge in the Bodhicitta

Written in Chinese and Reviewed by Dr. Yutang Lin
Translated by Stanley Lam


Entry through the gate of Buddhism is usually formalized by taking refuge in the Three Jewels, i.e., the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha (monastic community). The meaning of taking refuge is to have clearly recognized the suffering of cyclic existence in the six realms, to have understood that the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha are the guides and protectors to lead us from cyclic existence to ultimate happiness, therefore to earnestly wish to rely on the Three Jewels in order to proceed on the path to liberation, and thereby eventually to bring about the emancipation of all beings from suffering toward the joy of Bodhi.

In Vajrayana, taking refuge in the Guru is added with the understanding that the Guru is the embodiment of all Three Jewels because the Guru is a representative of the Buddha, an exponent of the Dharma, and the direct, personal teacher among the members of the Sangha.

Although practitioners have taken refuge in the Three Jewels, there might still be troubling issues. Usually beginners can hardly appreciate the Buddha's omnipresent light of blessings, hence taking refuge in the Buddha may be just a transient belief. The Dharma is very profound, difficult to comprehend, and it is even more difficult to infuse it thoroughly into daily speeches and activities. Hence, taking refuge in the Dharma could deteriorate into rigid adherence to wordings and formalities. The monastic community is a huge and complex group with many sects; some sects are even disputing with one another. Therefore, taking refuge in the Sangha could deteriorate into blind following of an idol or sorrowful engagement in worldly strifes.

Based on my experiences of many years of devoted Buddhist practice, I recognize that there is a need to advocate "Taking Refuge in the Bodhicitta." The Bodhicitta is the aspiration that all sentient beings will attain complete liberation, ultimate joy, and perfect unification of wisdom and compassion. The Buddha is one who has realized the Bodhicitta, the Dharma consists of teachings on practicing the Bodhicitta, and the Sangha consists of those who dedicate their lives to the propagation of the Bodhicitta. Taking refuge in the Bodhicitta completely includes taking refuge in the Three Jewels and the Guru. On the path of practice, whenever one is troubled by inconsistencies between theory and actuality, the decision on what to do or not to commit, and which way to pursue or not to follow, should be made only in accordance with the Bodhicitta. Taking refuge in the Bodhicitta amounts to making the Bodhicitta the supreme guidance on the path of practice. May all who have dedicated their lives to genuine Buddhist practices enjoy the supreme benefit of taking refuge in the Bodhicitta.


Written on September 24, 1997
A Study for the Cultivation of Harmony
Taipei, Taiwan

Translated on November 29, 1997
Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada


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