Dharma for life
標題
The Journey of Madyamika
日期
2018-04-26
My First Learning Journey with Madhyamaka.
by Alan Pek
 
中觀初學之旅
新加坡   白建益
鄭振煌  譯
 
Once upon a time, there was a happily married couple. The husband was from a rich family with reputation. Into the first year of the marriage, they were expecting their first baby boy. Everything looked blissful.
從前,有一對婚姻美滿的夫妻。丈夫來自名聲很好的富有家庭。婚後第一年,他們期待第一個兒子。一切看來都很幸福。
However, possibly due to malnutrition during the pregnancy and fever, the tiny infant had brain damage, which affected his motor functions and speech.
然而,或許因為懷孕期間營養不良和發燒,小嬰兒的腦筋受損,影響到他的運動功能和語言能力。
The father decided to abandon the little boy as the latter was considered a foregone conclusion.
父親決定放棄這個被認為回天乏術的小男孩。
Years later, the brain-damaged boy, with the love and care of his foster family, through sheer tenacity and indomitable faith in Buddhism, grew up, graduated, and built his own family cum a successful career. This was indeed a miracle.
幾年後,這個頭腦受損的男孩,在收養家庭的愛心照顧下,憑著堅強的意志力,以及對佛教不屈不撓的信仰,他長大了,畢業了,成立自己的家庭,又有成功的事業。這真是奇蹟。
However, the general discrimination, stress and also the very negative feeling towards his real parents drove him to alcoholism, ironically he was a vegetarian. This nearly destroyed the miracle and almost resulted in a disaster.
可是,眾人的歧視、壓力和對原生父母的不滿,逼著他借酒澆愁,諷刺的是他是素食者。這幾乎毀掉了奇蹟,造成大災難。
Through a lot of sincere prayers and probably good karma (past and present), especially the compassion of being a vegetarian, studying sutras and kind deeds, he eventually chose to reconcile and build a meaningful relationship with his real parents. He also managed to walk away from alcohol. The boy finally put himself into his parents’ shoes; understood that as a result of the social stigma (having a disabled kid), unexpected shock, and ignorance (not knowing how to manage such a special kid), his parents had done what they did. 
透過許多真誠的祈禱,可能因為過去世和現在世的善業,尤其是素食者的悲心、研究經典和行善,他終於選擇和解,跟原生父母建立有意義的關係。他也想辦法戒酒。最後,他以同理心換位思考,了解到父母所做的一切,都是由於社會成見(有一個殘障的小孩)、突如其來的打擊和無明(不知道如何處理這種小孩)。
Throughout his life, he was cast stares by many and discriminated against. He felt angry and disgusted, but gradually became numb. Ultimately, he managed to transcend, whenever he came across such unfriendly situations, within him, he would silently generate a unique wish towards the opposite party, “May I not cause any discomfort but bring out the compassion in you.”
他的一生,受到許多人的另眼看待和歧視。他感到憤怒和厭惡,但漸漸地變得麻木不忍。最後,他設法超越了,每當遇到這種不友善的情境,他內心就默默生起殊勝的祝福:[願我不帶給你痛苦,願我激起你的悲心。]
The above story has the following takeaways:
上面這個故事透露四個訊息:
i) Things/Situations would not happen out of thin air. They do not have a real nature of their own (asvabhava). ii) Things/Situations happen due a combination of variables/factors (hetupratyaya) and a result of the interrelation between the latter; without which, the former will not exist. iii) The only permanence is impermanence (anitya). iv) To rise above and beyond status quo, one has to uplift oneself.
 1) 萬法不可能無中生有,一切皆無自性。2) 萬法因緣和合而生,故緣起性空。3) 無常是唯一恆常的真理。4) 提升自我,方能超越現況。
The next part of this journey continues with getting to know one of the greatest theorists in Mahāyāna Buddhism, probably the greatest, second only to Gautama Buddha himself. He is none other than Nagarjuna Bodhisattva, who was born in ancient India, during the second century, about 700 years after Buddha had passed away.
這段旅程的下一部份,有關認識大乘佛教中最偉大的論師之一,也許是最偉大的論師,僅次於釋迦牟尼佛。他不是別人,他就是佛滅後七百年第二世紀出生於古印度的龍樹菩薩。
Nagarjuna is considered to be the founder of the Madhyamaka school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. He had expounded the lack of an immutable intrinsic nature within any phenomenon and the true interpretation of the concept in emptiness (shunya). Emptiness does not mean “nothing” in the worldly sense, it actually means something which will not transform.
龍樹菩薩是大乘佛教中觀學派的鼻祖,他闡揚空性的道理。空不是世俗意義的[無],而是萬法不可改變的本性。
The advocacy of the Madhyamaka school, according to my humble understanding, is to overturn the wrong view that the innate nature of all phenomena is unchangeable (pradhāna). With the overturning, one could appreciate the impermanence in life and manage one’s daily life.
根據我有限的理解,中觀宗的宏揚,是為了推翻萬法有自性的邪見。如此,吾人就可以欣賞生命中的無常,隨緣自在過日子。
The story at the beginning of this journey served as a gentle reminder, as a foregone conclusion became a miracle which almost ended up in disaster but finally transcended. There is always a reason for everything. Going one step further, there are three states in all phenomena, one of positivity, neutrality and negativity. Many a time, the full manifestation of the state might not be immediate but could take longer time. The undisputed fact is that one actually reaps what ones sows. For example, when someone planted melon seeds, he/she would not expect to harvest apples. Adding onto such an important perspective, positive thoughts and actions will generate positive outcome. This is extremely helpful in our lives.
此次旅程開始的故事,溫柔地讓我想起以奇蹟結局的往事,幾乎要釀成的災難終於被超越了。萬法必有因緣。往前走一步,會有三種結果:正面的、無記性的、負面的。很多時候,結果可能不是立即就完全顯現的,而是需要較長的時間。無可爭議的事實是自作自受。譬如,種瓜不要指望蘋果。除此重要的觀點之外,更應該知道[正面的思考和行動,將產生正面的結果]。這對於我們的生活是非常有幫助的。
It is the observation and interpretation of the world and all phenomenon through Prajna wisdom [intelligence as result of knowledge + experience] that none can self-exist but is a product of circumstances/factors and their interrelationship is of utmost significance. However, one must still have compassion and win by virtue. One might be able to win all the debates, as Nagarjuna did, but more importantly, one should still touch the heart, as such gesture would have impact; deeper, wider and further than one who only walks through with the mind. Some of the great benevolent rulers were King Asoka and Liu Bai.
以般若智慧來觀照和詮釋,可以得知宇宙萬法無一是自我存在的,而是環境因緣的產物,因此它們彼此之間的關係就非常重要。然而,我們還必須有慈悲心,以德服人。我們也許可以像龍樹一樣贏得一切辯論,但更重要的是還須感動別人的心,才能發揮遠遠超過理智的影響力。例如,阿育王和劉備就是偉大的仁王。
In essence, wisdom must be complemented by compassion, and vice versa.  Such combination will go far and beyond, for anyone with that would be living life more holistically, definitely bringing benefits aplenty to all around, let alone, as rulers. 
總之,智慧必須輔以慈悲,反之亦然。悲智雙運將無往不利,悲智兩全的人將活得更有整體性,必然大大利益周遭的人,統治者更是如此。
With such profound wisdom and encompassing compassion, ironically, in today’s Mahayana Buddhism, many practitioners indulged too much into theory and lacked practical doings; whereas others focus on practice but without having the strong foundation and understanding of the philosophy/theory. In general, many Buddhism followers of today need to seriously practice the six pāramitās: (i) dāna, charity, or giving, including the bestowing of the truth on others; (ii) śīla, keeping the command rents; (iii) kṣānti, patience under insult; (iv) vīrya, zeal and progress; (v) dhyāna, meditation or contemplation; (vi) prajñā; wisdom, the power to discern reality or truth.
諷刺的是,儘管大乘佛教有如此甚深的智慧和廣大的慈悲,今日許多學佛人不是埋頭鑽研教理,卻缺少實際行動,就是只重實修,卻缺少教理的堅強基礎和了解。總的來說,當今許多佛教徒需要認真修持六波羅蜜:布施、持戒、忍辱、精進、禪定、智慧。
Along with understanding on schools of thought, such as Madhyamaka and Agama, the Buddhists would be able to pursue their beliefs on such principles, enlightenment for many will definitely come sooner rather than later. 
佛弟子只要了解中觀、阿含之類的思想,以此實踐他們的信仰,必然很快就可以得到開悟,而非遙遙無期。
The Madhyamaka School laid the foundation for early Mahayana Buddhism; it does not really advocate either Emptiness (shunya) or Existence (bhava) as displaying a solid phase; as the "Eight Nos" verse illustrates: Neither Create nor Cease, neither Always nor Terminate, neither Same nor Different, neither Come nor Go.
中觀宗為早期大乘佛教奠立基礎,它不執著空有任一端,誠如八不偈所言:不生亦不滅,不常亦不斷,不一亦不異,不來亦不出。
Once one appreciates that all the worldly phenomena have the properties as described above, one will find the enormous possibilities behind all predicaments as they are always changing, and never eternally the same. Thus, one should be aware that negative situations such as incurable illnesses are no longer really that helplessly conclusive. Given the right positive mindset, and probably through combination of actions such as meditation, chanting, and putting effort into the six pāramitās, anything may turn around.
我們一旦接受世間萬法的本質無非八不,就可以發現一切問題背後的無限可能性,因為它們永遠在改變,絕非一成不變。因此,我們應該注意:逆境,例如不治之症,不是真的那麼無可挽救。抱持正面的心態,配合禪修、誦經、力行六波羅蜜,一切都可改變。
This journey will still continue, to enlightenment. Moving forwards, with such renewed insight, whether positivity, neutrality and adversity, one should be as “indifferent” as one could.
這個旅程仍然持續著,邁向開悟。以這種嶄新的洞見前進,不管目前的遭遇是好、壞或不好不壞,我們總是要盡力[有所不同]。
Last but least, Madhyamaka actually transcends other schools of Buddhism. It is but only one of the systems/toolkits, whose purpose is to help wake up from our dream.
最後要強調的是,中觀其實超越佛教各宗派。它只不過是無量法門之一,目的在喚醒我們的迷夢。