忏悔的真诚  林钰堂     

 

 

「人孰无过?知过能改,善莫大焉!」这是大家熟悉的箴言。在佛法里,为了消弥宿业,减少修途障碍,也有修忏的法门。

修法若非发乎真诚,只沦为表演,是没有意义的。因此,在修忏的仪轨里,为了显示真诚,也有讲求需要行者当众「发露」(告白)的。但是,为了防止误解及误传的后果,行者的发露应该可以只在佛、菩萨及所信仰、皈依的师傅前布陈。

修忏者是否发乎真诚,只有本人及佛、菩萨明白。然而,古代的廉颇大将军,在醒悟自己的过失后,裸背负荆去向蔺相如请罪,而流传下来「负荆请罪」的成语。那种完全不顾颜面、后果的请罪行为,当然是发乎真诚的。

若有人表示忏悔,一般而言,做为师傅者当然应该欢喜接受。但是,在觉察只是一种表演,而有利用表演以博加持的存心时,则无需与其继续表面的应付——做为修行人,真诚应对才是本份,而加持大众是不带任何分别的。

顺带一提,有些学佛者,老是担心自己是否有罪、犯戒、有业障,老在求完美,以至于不能专心修法;这样子,其实也是「我执」的表现。修行佛法,最根本是在菩提心——为一切众生修法,求一切有情成佛;老是在想自己如何,就是忘失菩提心!

 

二○二○年五月十二日
养和斋    于加州


 

 

Sincerity in Repentance

Yutang Lin

 

″Who made no mistakes? Making amendments after realizing mistakes, there is no greater good than that!″  This is a well-known proverb in Chinese literature. In Dharma, in order to eliminate karmic hindrances on the path to enlightenment, there are also Dharma practices for repentance.

Engaging in Dharma practices, if not born of sincerity, would deteriorate into mere performance, and lose any significance. Hence, among repentance rituals, to display sincerity in repentance, some would require the repenter to reveal the mistakes in public. However, to prevent consequences born of misunderstanding and miscommunication, the repenter should be allowed to make revelation only to Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and the Dharma teacher whom the repenter has taken refuge from and has faith in.

Whether a repenter is sincere or not, is obvious only to the repenter, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. However, in ancient Chinese history there was a great general Lian Po, who, after realizing his own mistakes, carried thorny sticks on his naked back, and knelt to Lian Xiang Ru, whom he had misunderstood, to ask for forgiveness; consequently, there is a Chinese proverb, ″carrying thorns to ask for forgiveness″, passed down to these days. That kind of action in asking for forgiveness, totally in disregard to personal image and consequences, surely was born of sincerity.

In case some expressed repentance, generally speaking, whoever serving as a spiritual teacher should, of course, take delight in it and accept it. However, when noticed that it was a kind of performance, with the intention to obtain blessing through such an act, then there is no need to continue engaging in superficial dealings—as a Dharma practitioner, only responding in sincerity is proper, while providing blessings to all contains no differentiation of any kind.

By the way, some Buddhists always worry about whether they have sinned, violated rules of conducts, have karmic hindrances, and are demanding perfection, to the extent that they cannot concentrate on Dharma practices; such behaviors are, indeed, displays of ″grasping to self″. To engage in Dharma practices, fundamentally it should be born of Bodhicitta—practicing for all sentient beings and aiming at enlightenment of all sentient beings; constantly worrying about how one is performing simply amounts to Bodhicitta forgotten!

 

Written in Chinese and translated into English on May 12, 2020
El Cerrito, California

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