Introduction to the dharma talk...
Some of you may remember the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak back in 2003, another coronavirus with global impact. Even though it wasn’t widespread in the United States, it still caused anxiety and fear around the world. Grand Master Wei Chueh’s Dharma talk on SARS, which is part of this week’s reading, is as pertinent to our situation today as it was almost 20 years ago. By purifying our minds, we can also purify the world.
惟覺安公老和尚針對SARS疫情之開示 (西元2003年)The Grand Master’s Dharma Talk on SARS (in 2003)
The whole world is now in fear of the SARS epidemic. Patients with SARS may gradually recover after undergoing some distress and quarantine; but in the more serious cases, they may succumb to the disease. Facing this epidemic, what should we do to safely get through it? This is a topic we all need to explore urgently.
Buddhism teaches that “illness arises from karma, and karma is produced from our mind.” To prevent SARS, beside avoiding crowded public places, keeping our home and office clean, tidy, dry, and the air well circulated, we should also always abide in right mindfulness, freeing our mind from the poisons of greed, anger, ignorance and other negative thoughts—this is how we keep ourselves away from disease.
SARS is a calamity we all face together. To prevent and protect ourselves from this calamity, we need to start from our minds. When we relate and treat each other with friendliness and compassion, an effective defensive system is developed within our mind. This is the best strategy to protect ourselves and to keep disease out.
“Contemplate the suffering of sentient beings; bring forth the bodhi mind.” When we see everyone in the world is in fear, it kindles in us a sense of unconditioned compassion and oneness toward all beings. We can dedicate the merits of our morning and evening service and our good deeds toward world peace, wishing all sentient beings be free from illness. When we all hold this same hope and wish, our minds will abide in right mindfulness, calmness, and compassion, free from distraction or distortion. And when our minds are free of disease, the external world will also be free of disease. When our minds are pure, the external world is also a pure land. As we all recognize this, our minds will no longer be in tune with a world of epidemic. Simply transform our thoughts, we will bring brightness and purity to this world.
三缽囉佉多 - 佛說解毒神咒緣起 The Poison-Dissolving Mantra — "sampragata "
佛在王舍城時，城中 有一長者，名叫室利笈多，是裸形外道的門徒， 室利笈多的夫人聚底色迦，深信三寶。
Once in Buddha’s time in the city of Rajagrha, there was a householder named Shri Gupta, who was a disciple of a non-Buddhist school that practiced nudity. However, Shri Gupta’s wife, Jyotiska, was a devoted Buddhist.
One day, Jyotiska said to her husband, “The Buddha and the sangha are the most supreme merit fields. If you make a meal offering to the Buddha in person, you will receive immeasurable blessings.”
Shri Gupta replied, “I will make a meal offering to the Buddha if you also prepare a sumptuous banquet to offer to my master Purana and his disciples.”
Jyotiska thought, “If I refuse, then there is no chance that he will make an offering to the Buddha.” Therefore she agreed and made all kinds of delicious food to offer to his husband’s master Purana.
The next day, Shri Gupta went to invite the Buddha and his sangha to his house for a meal offering. The Buddha knew the householder harbored malicious intention, but he also saw that his time to hear the Dharma and attain liberation had come; therefore, the Buddha accepted his invitation in silence.
室利笈多回到家中，便在入門處挖一大坑洞，將火紅的木炭放入坑內，待火勢稍滅，又在坑上以土覆蓋，且於飲食加入毒藥，準備毒害 世尊。為避免計謀被揭穿，室利笈 多還將妻子反鎖在房間裡。
When Shri returned home, he dug a large pit in front of the entrance to the house and threw some red hot burning charcoal inside the pit. When the fire started to diminish, he covered the pit with a layer of soil. Moreover, he put poisons in the food offering, intending to poison the Buddha. In order to keep this plan a secret, he even locked his wife in the bedroom.
As the Buddha and his disciples were getting ready to head to Shri Gupta’s house, devas from the heavens rushed down to beg the Buddha, “the World Honored One, you must not go! He has dug a large fire pit in front of his house in order to harm you!”
The Buddha calmly replied, “I have already used the water of Dharma wisdom to extinguish the fire of desire, the fire of anger, and the fire of ignorance in my mind. How can any fire in this world harm me?”
The Buddha and disciples then continued on their way. Shortly, they arrived at Shri’s front door. As they walked toward the house, suddenly, blue lotus flowers emerged from the fire pit, one after another. Stepping on the path of the lotuses, the Buddha entered the house peacefully. When Shri witnessed this scene, he was amazed but also ashamed of his evil act. Not having the courage to face the Buddha, he ran into his wife’s room to confess and repent his wrong doing.
聚底色迦連忙帶著長者來到 世尊的面前，請求世尊原諒長者的重罪，佛慈悲寛恕長者後， 長者歡喜地請求世尊再多留片 刻，他將準備潔淨的飲食供養。
Jyotiska immediately took her husband to the Buddha to beg for pardon. When the Buddha compassionately forgave the householder, Shri joyfully requested the Buddha to stay and allow him to prepare a pure meal offering for him.
佛卻告訴長者說:「我心中 已無貪、瞋、癡三毒，因此， 世間的一切毒藥，對我並無法 起任何作用。您以原先準備好 的食物供養就可以了。」
However, the Buddha said, “My mind is free of the three poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance; therefore, no poison in this world is able affect me in any way. You can offer me the food you prepared before.”
用齋前，佛對阿難說:「你告訴比丘們，在唱完 『三缽囉佉多』之前，不應有一人先受食。」阿難即將佛語轉告比丘們，之後，又請一位比丘 於上座前唱三缽囉佉多，唱誦完畢，佛陀與比丘們 即安然無恙地受食，長者心想:「這毒藥能當場致 人於死，然而佛和比丘們竟無一人為毒所害。」因而對佛陀生起無比的信心。
The Buddha said to Ananda just before the meal, “Go tell all the monks that no one should start eating before chanting the sampragata mantra.”
After relating the Buddha’s instruction, Ananda asked a monk to lead the chanting of the mantra before taking his seat. Having chanted the mantra, the Buddha and all his disciples took the food offering peacefully and free of harm. The householder thought: “The poison I put in the food can kill a person immediately, but the Buddha and the monks are all unharmed!” Shri gained utmost faith in the Buddha.
待佛陀與比丘們用齋結束，室利笈多夫婦便恭請 佛陀開示法要。聆聽世尊所說之法，二人歡喜踴躍， 得未曾有，即刻開悟，證預流果。
When the Buddha and the monks finished eating, Shri and his wife respectfully requested the Buddha’s teaching. As they joyfully listened to the Buddha speak the Dharma, both attained the fruit of stream-enterer.
From: The Mulasarvastivada
Dharma Giving 法布施
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