小鱼池 Tiny Fish-pond

林钰堂

弟子供我五尾小鱼,长约一小指节——平底的碧玺上面刻成鱼的上半。在附近的日本日用品店,找到一个白色椭圆的酱油碟子;注入清水,安置鱼群,便成了书桌桉头的小鱼池。供鱼的弟子说,他从未想到这样做。

每天在水龙头下以清水注入,换出旧水,顺便以指头擦拭池底及鱼身。水流便将鱼群在池中的散佈位置变换了;所以,虽是娴静的鱼池,也有种种佈局可观——不死的鱼也可呈现活的动态。

佛法的修行者,一般不养宠物,以免产生执着,以便专心修行。这样的看养小鱼池,可以怡情静居,也没有很多照顾上的烦琐,更显示了「死物活用」的巧妙,也顺带培养一点对有情的关怀,所以写出来与大家分享。

日本的「盆栽」也是此类的寄情方式。

 

二○一七年十二月十六日
养和斋     于加州

Tiny Fish-pond

Yutang Lin

 

A disciple offered me five tiny fish—flat-bottom tourmaline with its top carved into shape of the upper-half of a fish, and each one is about one section of one little finger in length. In a nearby Japanese daily-necessities shop I found a white oval sauce-dish; set the fish into it and then pour fresh water into it, it became a tiny fish-pond on my desk. The disciple who offered these fish said, he had never thought of doing it in this way.

Daily I changed the water in the pond by letting water flow down from the faucet into it, while I use one finger to rub the bottom of the pond and the bodies of the fish. The running water changed the position of each fish naturally; hence, even though it is a quiet fish-pond, it still offers all kinds of display of positions—deathless fish can still exhibit lively movements.

In general, Dharma practitioners are not supposed to raise pets, lest they become attached to their pets, and so that they may concentrate on their Dharma practices. Looking after a tiny fish-pond in this manner may offer subtle pleasure to a quiet life, without incurring much chores of a caretaker; furthermore, it illustrates the skillful way of lively application on lifeless objects, and may help one to cultivate a sense of caring for other sentient beings. Thus, I wrote this essay to share the idea and the joy it may bring with all.

The Japanese Bon-Sai, potted plants, is a similar way to cultivate one’s feelings.

 

Written in Chinese and translated into English on December 16, 2017
El Cerrito, California

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