[:en]Buddhism and Vegetarianism[:zh]吃素與學佛[:]

[:en]“The great compassionate mind is the Buddha’s Mind. The spirit of Buddhism is compassion and equality. If we wish to attain a mind of compassion and equality, first, we must not kill; second, we must save and protect lives; third, we must practice vegetarianism. If we can accomplish all three, our compassionate mind will manifest.”

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To practice Buddhism is to learn from the Buddha, learn from the Buddha’s purity of body, speech, and mind. “To learn from the Buddha’s body” is to emulate the Buddha’s actions. All the actions in our daily lives should be proper and meet the highest standards. “Learning from the Buddha’s speech” is to always be proper in our speech – no bad-mouthing, backbiting, lying, or frivolous speech. “To learn from the Buddha’s mind” is to constantly examine and reflect upon the arising and impact of all our thoughts so that they are of the highest standard of perfection, truth, virtue, and beauty. Thus, we will attain the Buddha’s compassion, wisdom, samadhi, and even his spiritual powers and marvelous abilities.

Misconceptions about vegetarianism

        There are many expedient means to help us attain purity of body, speech, and mind. Expedient means can be thought of as a bridge or a pathway. Whether at work or in spiritual cultivation, it will not be easy to succeed without using expedient means. In cultivation, a first expedient means is to practice vegetarianism. The spirit of Buddhism is compassion and equality. If we wish to attain a mind of compassion and equality, first, we should not kill; second, we should save and protect lives; third, we should practice vegetarianism. If we can accomplish all these, our compassionate mind will manifest. A compassionate mind is the Buddha’s mind. Therefore, even though practicing vegetarianism seems ordinary, its significance is profound and far-reaching.

However, many people nowadays feel that they need not be vegetarians to practice Buddhism. Some scholars have even publicized mistaken views which have influenced vegetarians to start eating meat. For example, they say that the Buddha did not teach vegetarianism and that it is not related to one’s cultivation. They even think that being a vegetarian cannot help eradicate bad karma or help one attain the Way or liberation. They also give many examples that misguide people, saying that animals such as cows, horses, and elephants eat grass still but are butchered and suffer in the three wretched realms; therefore, being a vegetarian does not help our cultivation.

     In practicing Buddhism, if our viewpoint is wrong, the direction of our cultivation will be in contradiction to our goal; even though we spend much time and effort, we gain no benefits. Cultivation should focus on our mind; the slightest error leads to endless mistakes. Acting against the Way, we stray further and further from the Way. If we encounter steep cliffs and precipices, we will fall into the precipice, creating problems for ourselves.

Being in accord with the compassionate mind
If we investigate the view that “being a vegetarian does not lead to liberation” and “cows are vegetarians but still get slaughtered”, we will see that cows, sheep, and horses eat grass not because of their own resolve. They have to eat grass, or they will die; therefore it is a form of retribution, a form of suffering. In Buddhism we must examine our intention. Only when our viewpoint is correct can we benefit from our practice. We should understand the true aim of vegetarianism. Cows and sheep are herbivores but they do not resolve to be so. We are vegetarians out of a mind of compassion and equality.

Furthermore, many people who have no religious beliefs are also vegetarians. This is due to their fear that animal flesh contains too many antibiotics, hormones, and poisons. They worry that eating meat will cause hardening of the arteries or cancer. Many in the health professions advocate vegetarianism, even raw vegetables. These views are based on the wish to maintain health. If the capacity of their mind is constrained to self-interest, then it is not in accord with the intention in Buddhist practice. Hence their blessings can be much less.

“To be in accord” means to have the mind of compassion and equality. To have a mind of equality and compassion is to be like a buddha or bodhisattva. The Lotus Sutra says, “When sentient beings are happy, all buddhas are happy.” A mind of great compassion is the foundation of all bodhisattvas. Great compassion gives rise to the bodhi mind, and the bodhi mind gives rise to enlightenment. What is a compassionate mind? It is what the Confucian sage Mencius said in reference to animals, “Seeing it alive, we cannot bear to see it die; hearing its voice, we cannot bear to eat its flesh.” When we hear the loud and pitiful cries of animals before they are slaughtered, we know that it is cruel and feel very sad. Therefore, from a mind of compassion, we do not eat the flesh of sentient beings. The Buddhist sutra says that savage animals also have Buddha nature. Both humans and animals desire to live and fear death; that is in their awareness. Therefore, the first reason for being a vegetarian is entirely based on the mind of compassion and that all sentient beings possess the Buddha nature.

Second, everyone is subject to the causality of the three periods of time – past, present, and future. If we now eat the flesh of animals, the pain and suffering we inflict upon them will similarly be inflicted upon us in the future. Everyone knows that if we eat eight ounces from others, we have to return half a pound. The principle of causality never changes, so we should not eat meat.

Third, all sentient beings were and are our relatives. Therefore, we should save and protect all lives as we treasure the lives of our families.

In order to be grateful and repay kindnesses, we must have compassion. It is due to previous karmic affinities that we are together with our parents, teachers, brothers, and fellow cultivators in this life. However, there are good and bad affinities. If we have formed good affinities with others in the past, we will get along with them in this life and help each other. If we stole from or cheated people, or did not get along with them, then when we meet them in this life, they will cause trouble or even become our enemies. This is due to the causality of the three periods of time. If we observe carefully, we will realize that causality affects every aspect of our daily lives.

The suffering of transmigrating in the six realms

Once there were two great masters, Han Shan (“Cold Mountain) and Shi De (“Foundling”), who were the incarnations of Bodhisattvas Majushri and Samantabhadra. One day, when Han Shan was traveling and teaching amongst people, he saw a wedding feast in a village, with over a hundred banquet tables, accompanied by drums and cymbals. Everyone was having a good time. But Han Shan began to sob. When relatives and friends of the wedding party saw this, they scolded him: “You are crazy; this is a joyous occasion, why are you weeping?” They wanted to chase him away. Han Shan replied, “I am not crazy. You are the crazy ones!” They said, “You are acting like a fool. Why do you say that we are crazy?” Han Shan then sighed and recited the following verse:

Transmigration in the six realms is suffering!

The grandchild is marrying his grandmother,

Cows and sheep sit in the honored seats,

Relatives of the wedding party are being cooked in the pot.

Most people do not have the wisdom eye, the Dharma eye, or the heavenly (deva) eye; therefore, they cannot see the transmigrations in the six realms. They do not know that the bride and groom were actually related as grandchild and grandparent in the past. That is why Han Shan lamented that everyone is living in delusion and confusion. “Cows and sheep sit in the honored seats; relatives of the wedding party are being cooked in the pot.” The wedding guests were cows and sheep that were killed in a previous life, and were born into this life as humans, sitting in the honored seats. The chickens, ducks, fish, and other animals being cooked were relatives of the wedding family from previous lives. The buddhas and bodhisattvas have the power to see into the past so they can see karma connections clearly. That is why, based on compassion and equality, they tell us not to eat the flesh of sentient beings.

Transmigration in the six realms is great suffering. If, from life to life, we do not practice the Way diligently, we will be reborn unceasingly. Of the six realms, the highest is the heavenly realm. If we practice the ten virtuous acts, the four dhyanas , and the eight concentrations, we can ascend into the heavenly realms. The second realm is the the asuras. Asuras have the blessings of heaven but not the heavenly virtues; they have ugly features. Third is the realm of human beings. We are now in this realm, yet each of our blessings and retributions is different. Fourth is the realm of animals, and fifth is the realm of hungry ghosts. Sixth is hell, the realm of greatest suffering; it is filled with those with grave offenses. If we do not practice diligently, we will continue to transmigrate within the six realms and endure the endless suffering of birth, old age, illness, and death. After we have used up all the blessings of heaven, we will descend into the human realm, and if we have created bad karma, we will again descend into the wretched realms and become animals, hungry ghosts, or hell beings. So, like a carriage wheel, we are transmigrating endlessly in the realms of heaven, humans, hell, hungry ghosts, and animals. Human life is but a sea of sorrow and endless suffering.

Mahayana and Theravada positions on meat eating

Did the Buddha talk about vegetarianism? The Mahayana bodhisattva precepts clearly state that we must not eat the flesh of sentient beings, and must also observe the six fasting days (per month). In the Theravada scriptures, the Buddha speaks of eating the “three pure meats” and “five pure meats,” so we can see that the Mahayana and Theravada sutras both advocate compassion and the protection of life. Eating the “three pure meats” is only an expedient means that is provided because new cultivators and students of Buddhism still harbor the craving for meat. Even knowing that eating meat creates karma, people cannot break their old habits right away; they feel that it is not a real meal without meat. Therefore, the Buddha established the expedient means of the “three pure meats.”

“Three pure meats” means the meat eaten must fulfill three requirements so it will be pure and not cause sin: first, not seeing the animal being killed, second, not hearing it being killed, and third, not suspecting that it is being killed for us.

First, “not seeing it being killed” means that when people go to the market, they see chickens and ducks being killed, and feel that the meat is therefore very fresh. They not only let the animals be killed, but are eager to buy the meat. They do not have a compassionate mind; eating this meat creates sin.

Second, “not hearing it being killed” means that if we hear the agonizing cries of a chicken or duck when it is being killed, we should not eat its meat.

Third, “not suspecting it being killed” means that in the butcher shop or market place, the chicken was bought by the store owner and was not specifically killed for us. If we go to a friend’s or relative’s house at New Year, everyone feels that it is a rare occasion to get together, so they eagerly kill a chicken to prepare a sumptuous banquet for us. If we eat this meat, we then create bad karma. If we refuse to eat meat, this chicken would not have died because of us. Based on compassion, not only we ourselves do not kill, but we do not ask others to kill for us. Some people are afraid to kill life themselves; therefore, they ask others to help them kill a chicken or duck or fish and then enjoy eating it, causing others to create bad karma. This is similar to getting others to murder for them; they are accomplices in crime, their minds are venomous and the act is sinful.

If we wish to protect our lives and have good health, yet cannot become totally vegetarian, we should at least eat the “three pure meats.” After we are used to eating the three pure meats, we will gradually uncover our virtuous roots and cultivate a compassionate mind. We then can go a step further and eat the “five pure meats.” That is, we only eat meat that fulfill these three and two additional conditions: One is “died naturally.” If the animal died naturally from illness, old age, or an accident, we can eat it. But people now feel that the meat of an animal that died from illness or old age is unhealthy. Therefore, there is not much chance of eating this type of meat now. Another rule is “remnants from birds;” this is to eat the remains of animals from the mountains that have been eaten by wild animals and birds. Again, this is also rarely done. So we might as well give up eating meat completely; that is to be truly pure.

Observing the six fasting days

Another expedient means of practicing vegetarianism is to observe the “six fasting days.” Many people, out of compassion, abstain from meat for breakfast or on the first day of the month. That is good. But it is not a practice recorded in the Buddhist scripture. It is only an expedient means for people. According to the scripture, to truly attain benefits, we should observe the “six fasting days.” Those are the 8th, 14th, 15th in the first half of the (lunar) month, the 23rd, and the last two days of the month. In those six days we should completely abstain from the meat of sentient beings, and maintain purity of body, speech, and mind. The eyes only see what is proper; the ears only hear what is proper; the mouth does not gossip or slander others; the mind stays away from delusive thoughts; the body only performs good deeds—that is truly observing the six fasting days. Some people also take the eight prohibitory and fasting precepts during these six days or at another time. All these can increase merits and eradicate karmic obstacles.

There is cause and effect for everything in this world. Why should we observe the six fasting days? Because on the 8th day of each month, the retinues of the four Heavenly Kings come down to earth to inspect the good and evil in men. If we do good deeds on that day, the retinues of the Heavenly Kings will record them and report them to the Kings; then one’s blessings and lifespan will increase. If we do very bad deeds on that day, the Heavenly Kings may not wait for our retributions in the next life, but immediately send us great misfortunes in this life. On the 14th day of the month, the sons of the four Heavenly Kings will inspect the human realm. On the 15th day of the month, the four Kings will come down in person. The same thing happens in the second half of the month. Therefore, during these six days, we should “do no evil and perform all good.” We should be diligent and unceasing in performing worldly good and spiritual cultivation. Then our merits and lifespan will surely increase.

Some may feel this seems to encourage us to do good deeds only when the Four Heavenly Kings come to inspect us. Actually, these six fasting days are just expedient means. When our good habits have fully developed, every day will naturally be a day of “fasting.” Good habits are difficult to cultivate but bad habits are quickly learned. Yet the bad habits that we acquire and become addicted to are very difficult to break. Smoking, alcohol, and craving the nightlife are obvious examples. Therefore, Buddhism teaches that we should first gradually get rid of our bad habits. After we develop good habits and good thoughts, our mind will be filled with brightness.

Right intention is the foundation

Vegetarianism has many benefits. However to truly achieve the aim and benefits of vegetarianism, we must generate a mind of compassion and equality. No matter what we do, we should have the right intention. If our intention is right, whether we recite the Buddhas’ names, recite the sutras, or are vegetarians, we will gain infinite merits and blessings. However, if we do the same things without the right intention, there may not be blessings or merits. If we do not have a mind of compassion and equality, and only practice vegetarianism for the sake of ourselves, even though we may obtain good health, that is “ego-attachment” (attachment to the false ego); the mind’s ignorance and foolishness may increase, and there will be no merits. Animals that eat grass are like this. They do not do it from any resolve for compassion or equality; it is just the result of their past karma. People who say that cows and sheep are vegetarians but cannot attain liberation only see the surface; they are ignorant of the true reason that cows have not yet attained liberation.
In our cultivation, whether as laity or monastics, we must have right understanding and right view, and should study Buddhism from good and knowledgeable teachers who have genuine realizations. Making a resolve to be a vegetarian is very important to cultivators, but there is now an unhealthy trend in Buddhism. Many people, originally vegetarians who have taken the five precepts, and cultivate very diligently, later hear that the esoteric sect allows people to eat meat and drink wine, so they start to follow those practices. They feel that the esoteric school is good since they can enjoy the five worldly desires and still attain liberation and buddhahood. This is an erroneous viewpoint! They don’t realize the reason that the esoteric practitioners do not practice vegetarianism is because they once led the life of animal herders in Tibet and there were no vegetables there; therefore, they had to eat meat. Now because the environment is different, many of them have become vegetarians. Therefore, we should know that in practicing Buddhism, we should be vegetarians based on a mind of compassion and equality. Those who want to cut corners and use the esoteric school to give themselves an excuse, give rein to the five desires and take the wrong road. This will only result in bad karma.

The mind gives rise to discriminations and attachments

Many people feel that vegetarian food is lacking in nutrients, or that it doesn’t taste good. Actually, this is a problem of the mind, not a question of nutrition. Whether food tastes good or bad is relative; it is the result of a discriminating mind.

For example, some people like to eat lightly seasoned foods. Cantonese people like foods that are sweet, sour, and salty. People from Hunan, Sichuan, and Hubei like foods that are spicy and salty. Zejiang people like foods with strong odors, the stronger the better, just as some people like to eat fermented tofu, yet its smell gives others a headache. People from southern China like to eat rice; Northerners like to eat noodles, and if they have a garlic clove in spicy sauce to accompany plain wheat buns, that’s better than a New Year’s banquet. Brazilian people would not enjoy a meal without some sour dishes. Therefore, sour, sweet, bitter, and spicy – which food tastes best? When we see these different preferences, we realize that what tastes good and what tastes bad are illusive and unreal. It is all due to our own discriminations and attachments.

Buddhism teaches that “all dharmas arise from conditions; all conditional arisings are empty in nature.” All phenomena arise from the coming together of causes and conditions; they are all illusory and empty in nature. This is also true for tastes. It is due to past habits and individual preference from discrimination and attachment.

Both lay people and monastics may have had the following experiences: before becoming vegetarians, they eat a lot of fish and meat; they were not accustomed to coarse food and simple meals. But after becoming a vegetarian or monastic for a long time, for 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years, they feel that vegetables are sweet, fragrant, and delicious; instead, the stench from meat and fish make them nauseous. This is also due to the mind’s discriminations.

Suppose you missed the bank before it closes and are distressed about your cash flow while having dinner with a friend. Even though the food is plentiful and delicious, you cannot enjoy it; your mind is filled with afflictions so food is tasteless. In our society today, there are many laborers who eat plain and simple food, yet they are very healthy. On the other hand, the rich eat sumptuous meals each day, and even take supplements, yet they have many health problems. That is because their minds are filled with afflictions; they are not able to digest or absorb their food, which is soon excreted. All these prove that the preference for vegetarian food or meat, what tastes good and what does not, is entirely due to the mind.

Vegetables have the most natural nutrients

Many people believe that a vegetarian diet is not nutritious enough. This is simply false. More and more people today who have no religious beliefs have become vegetarians for health reasons. For decades, we as vegetarians have never eaten meat, yet we are quite healthy. This proves that vegetables are very nutritious. Vitamins and proteins are mostly extracted from plants and seldom extracted from animals. So how can people say that vegetables have no nutrients? Furthermore, don’t strong animals such as elephants, cows, and horses eat grass? This proves that the nutritious value of vegetables is not the real issue; it is our mind.

The lifespan of a human being is now relatively short. Many ancient civilizations have records of people who lived very long lives. Think about this, now with the advances in medicine and science, we should be much healthier, but why is our lifespan not much longer? The reasons are easily seen. First, in the past, people ate natural foods including vegetables and fruits and used leaves for their clothing. Today, people eat and dress luxuriously yet their food contains many artificial ingredients and chemicals. Second, in the past, wood was used to build houses; Sui Ren Shi discovered fire by rubbing pieces of wood together; Yiu Cao Shi taught people how to build tree houses. For their health, people now also like to eat natural, organic food and live in houses built from wood. They are reverting back to these ancient practices. This shows that a vegetarian diet is surely healthy and nutritious.

The Right Starting Point

In Buddhism, the reason for being a vegetarian is not so that people can live a long time but because of their mind of compassion and equality. First, sentient beings are future buddhas and bodhisattvas; therefore, we should not eat the flesh of sentient beings. Second, everyone has Buddha nature. Besides protecting our own life, we also must respect the lives of all sentient beings. Third, vegetarianism is based on the principle of causality that spans the past, present, and future. Therefore, we clearly understand the reason for vegetarianism is the bodhisattva cause, the right cause. With our actions based on these principles, the rewards will be limitless. If we do not have a correct intention in practicing vegetarianism, even though good actions lead to good retributions, the benefits will be greatly reduced.
This mind is very subtle. If our intentions are right, all our actions will have immeasurable merits—they will be bright and virtuous deeds. If our intentions are not right, we may work very hard without getting good retributions; we may even create bad karma instead. Both Buddhist practice and worldly endeavors work this way. Therefore, whatever career we pursue, we must constantly examine this causal mind and ask ourselves why we wish to become a physician, an architect, a politician, a businessman, or even pursue knowledge. For example, with what intention do politicians campaign for office? If it is with a mind of compassion for the country and society so that all people will have peace, a mind to protect jobs and families, and a mind in which all their actions are based on the love and care for people and things – then the higher their political office the better, for they are already bodhisattvas! Due to their high positions in society, they can serve more people and do more important work. Isn’t that the bodhisattva way? However, if they only inflate themselves, are tempted by fame, profit, or desire when campaigning for office, it will be disastrous; they will not only suffer defeat and infamy, but will also descend into the suffering realms in the future.

The spiritual path is also like this. We must be clear on why we recite the sutras and meditate. For example, there are now so called “chanting groups” who are invited to go and recite the sutras at funerals. After the chanting, they ask for money; they are in the business of selling Buddhist blessings. In Buddhism this is called “to sell the tathagata.” This not only has no merits but creates sin. Reciting the sutras is a good thing; it is a Buddhist practice; how could it become sinful? This is due to an erroneous mind. Also, the practice of meditation originally is to help enlighten the mind and see our true nature, and to cultivate samadhi and wisdom. But some people do not care about this and instead wish to achieve spiritual powers through meditation, or they wish that the bodhisattvas will come to tell them about the future or even give them the right lottery numbers in their meditation. Meditating with such ulterior motives is not only devoid of merits, but will easily lead to afflictions and even cause mental problems. Furthermore, monastics should also harbor a proper view in cultivation; they should constantly reflect that their reasons for embracing the monastic life are because they wish to renounce the world, renounce the home in the three realms, the home of ignorance, and to benefit oneself and others. If our viewpoint is wrong, even if we embrace the monastic life, there will be no merits. Why? If we do so because of certain stresses in life, or to escape from debtors: “if the starting point is not true, the path to the goal will be convoluted;” when our viewpoint is not correct, we will not obtain the great benefits of embracing the monastic life.

The way of the mind is extremely subtle; if missed by a hair’s breadth, the result can differ by a thousand miles. Buddhism says, “All of the triple realms are only this mind; all the ten thousand dharmas are merely consciousness.” Spiritual cultivation is nothing but how we regulate our mind, and how we use this mind. We must achieve a mind of samadhi, purity, and clarity; be able to discriminate what is bright and what is dark; and know what should be done and what should not be done. The mind must be perfectly clear.

Buddhism teaches us what is correct and true. If this mind is like a mirror or a pool of still water, without the least bit of defilement, without giving rise to a single delusive thought, constantly abiding in samadhi and wisdom, then this mind is the Buddha Dharma. When we truly attain this level, the mind will penetrate all the dharma realms and attain “spiritual resonance (感應).” We can achieve what people call “all our wishes will come true” and “when the mind is spiritual, blessings come naturally.” Then both our studies and careers will surely be successful. If the mind is always scattered, drowsy, and confused, we will even have bad dreams at night, be lethargic in the daytime and unable to make clear decisio–ns in anything; then how can we expect any spiritual resonance?

Nurturing blessings and wisdom

Vegetarianism is both intimately related to Buddhism and closely related to our merits, virtues, wisdom, and samadhi. Both the Mahayana and Theravada sutras extol the importance of no killing and compassion for all sentient beings. Therefore, we sincerely hope that every practitioner of Buddhism will take the right road. In cultivation, we must first cultivate merits by upholding the precepts and having a compassionate mind. Yet, to develop compassion, firstly, we must not kill; secondly, we should save and protect lives; and thirdly, we should practice vegetarianism. If we can incorporate these principles into our daily lives; and discipline and train ourselves, we will eventually realize true compassion and impartiality. The mind will then become pure and we will attain liberation. Buddhism is the truest of truths. If we put in one measure of effort, we will get one measure of benefit; if we put in ten measures of effort, we will obtain ten measures of benefit.-

Vegetarianism is also good for our health. From a medical viewpoint, vegetables can lower blood pressure and decrease the chances of cancer and many other diseases. But in Buddhism, we advocate an entirely compassion-based motivation for becoming vegetarian. Therefore, whether people hope for good health, spiritual progress, wisdom, blessings, merits, or compassion, they all should practice Buddhism and vegetarianism. The first step is to gradually limit yourself to eating the “three pure meats”. Then, from never killing lives, saving lives, and protecting lives, we go even further to vegetarianism.

The foundation in practicing Buddhism is to establish right understanding and right view. I hope that everyone will have this understanding, and I believe that the wise surely know how to reflect upon and take care of themselves. We should work diligently from the right cause, instead of blindly wishing for the right result. Whatever we sow, we will surely reap. We must be steadfast in this right direction if we wish to make progress in our Buddhist cultivation.[:zh]

大慈悲心就是佛心,佛法的精神就是慈悲與平等。要想達到慈悲、平等的心,第一要不殺生,第二要救生,第三要吃素;能夠做到,慈悲心就會現前。

修行學佛就是要向佛學習。從身口意開始,學佛的身、學佛的口、學佛的意。學佛的身就是學佛的行為,行住坐臥怎樣達到最高的標準?學佛的口,在日常生活中,講話怎麼講?該有什麼標準?學佛的心,我們起心動念,也應該有一個標準,達到最高、最圓滿、真善美的標準了,這樣就能成就佛的慈悲、佛的智慧、佛的定力,乃至於佛的神通妙用都現前了。

第一不殺生,第二要救生,第三要吃素。

把這些都做到了,慈悲心就會現前

要達到這個境界,有種種的方便,所謂方便就是一個橋樑,就是一個管道。做一件事情也有方便,如果沒有方便,做事就不容易辦好,修行也要有方便,沒有方便,我們修行也不容易成功。什麼是方便?修行第一個要吃素,吃素就是一個方便。為什麼吃素是一個方便呢?我們佛法的精神就是慈悲,就是平等,要想達到慈悲、平等的心,第一不殺生,第二要救生,第三就要吃素。我們把這些都做到了,慈悲心就會現前,慈悲心就是佛心,所以吃素看起來很普通,它的意義非常深遠。

有很多人學佛很久了,但沒發心吃素,他們認為修行學佛就好了,為什麼要吃素呢?前幾年有位學者發表了一篇文章,大家都認為他是大善知識,寫了很多書出來。他在文章中講吃素不是佛教講的,吃素與我們修行也沒關係,所以他發表這篇文章以後,很多原來吃素的人也不吃素了。他說吃素的人不能成道,吃素不能消業,吃素不能解脫,吃素不是佛教講的,他舉了很多很多的例子:第一、過去佛在世的時候,婆羅門教也是吃素的,現在有很多道教也是吃素的,甚至不信宗教的人也是吃素,這就證明吃素不是屬於宗教的活動。第二吃素不能離開痛苦,牛、馬、大象,牠們也是吃草,從來沒吃過肉,還是被宰殺,還是在三塗惡道中受苦,所以吃素是沒有用的,因此很多原來吃素的人,聽了他的話就不吃素了。

我們想想這是什麼知見?實在是邪知邪見!雖然是修行學佛,假使知見錯誤,南轅北轍,花了很多的時間,也達不到什麼效果,這就是因為知見、觀念錯誤的原因。尤其我們修行就是在這念心,差之毫釐,失之千里,一個是南,一個是北,南轅北轍背道而馳,就愈來愈遠了,假如前面是懸崖絕壁,碰到絕壁,掉入懸崖,自己就要出毛病。所以那位學者講,吃素不屬於佛教,吃素不能解脫痛苦,吃素不能消除業障,吃素沒有增長福報,牛馬都是吃素,怎麼還是變畜生呢?

我們來研究研究,牛、羊、馬吃素,並不是發心吃素,我們學佛要發心,吃素的目的在那裏?有很多人是貪求功德,認為吃素有功德;有的人吃早齋,早上吃一餐說是在吃素,這是不是吃素呢?雖然不是吃素,但還是有吃素的觀念,還是有功德。為什麼不算是吃素呢?因為早上這一餐,很多人根本就不吃,當然沒有功德。牛羊吃素,並沒有發心,我們現在吃素是發心的。發什麼心呢?就是基於慈悲心、平等心。剛才說,很多人不信宗教也吃素,那是為了身體健康,認為吃肉血管會阻塞而吃素,佛教裏也有貪求功德才吃素的,這些都是吃素的動機,所以有很多學者提倡素食,不但提倡素食,還提倡吃生菜,這些吃素的觀念,有沒有功德?沒有功德。這完全只是保護自己身體的健康,雖然也是一種發心,但就和修行學佛不相應了。

吃素的目的,就是在養成我們的大慈悲心

孟子也說:

見其生,不忍見其死

聞其聲,不忍食其肉

什麼叫相應?所謂相應,是與慈悲心相應,與平等心相應,這就是菩薩,這就是佛。平等心、慈悲心就是佛,所以佛經裏講「眾生歡喜,諸佛歡喜」。菩薩以慈悲心為根本,「因大悲心而發菩提心,因菩提心而成正覺」,所以。什麼是大慈悲心?一切眾生皆有佛性,每個人都貪生怕死,所有一切動物都有貪生怕死的心,這就是覺性、就是靈心,人人都有,動物也有,基於這個道理,我們不忍心吃牠們。孟子也說,「君子之於禽獸也,見其生,不忍見其死;聞其聲,不忍食其肉。是以君子遠庖廚也。」我們看到一隻動物臨死時嚎啕哀叫,心裡覺得很悲慘,基於這個慈悲心,不能吃眾生的肉,這是第一個原因,完全是基於慈悲心,基於佛性的關係。

人有三世因果

慢慢觀察

因果,就在日常生活中

第二是基於因果的關係。什麼叫因果?一個人有過去、現在、未來三世因果,現在我們吃牠們的肉,將來牠們也會殺掉我們、吃掉我們。一般人都知道,吃四兩就要還半斤,這就是因果的關係,基於這個道理,我們不能吃肉。第三個原因是一切眾生都是我們的親眷,今生在一起,父母也好,兄弟、師長、同參道友也好,這就是緣,一個是善緣,一個是惡緣,過去結了善緣,今生就合得來,大家互相幫助;如果處得不好,偷盜、詐騙,今生一碰了面就是冤家、就是仇人,這就是因果。基於這個原因,絕對不能再違背因果的道理,說不定我們現在吃的肉,就是我們過去的親戚、朋友,吃了肉就是吃了親眷一樣,所以知恩、報恩、就是要有慈悲心。這些道理,有的人相信,有的人不一定相信,人有三世因果,慢慢觀察,因果就在日常生活中。

以前有個寒山、拾得,大家都知道是文殊菩薩、普賢菩薩的化身,一日寒山大士出來遊化人間,看到村落裏討媳婦,大擺酒席辦了幾百桌,鑼鼓吹吹打打的,大家都很高興,寒山大士一看到,一把鼻涕一把淚的哭起來了,旁邊的人一看就說,你這個瘋子,今天是喜事,你為什麼在這裡哭哭啼啼的,親戚朋友們說著就要趕他走,寒山大士講,我不是瘋子,你們才是瘋子。在場的人說,我們很正常,你才是瘋瘋顛顛的,怎麼反過來說我們是瘋子呢?寒山大士馬上說了一首詩:

六道輪迴苦,孫子娶祖母;

牛羊為上座,六親鍋內煮。

在六道輪迴中是很苦的,一個人如果生生世世不知道用功、不知道修行,就是在六道中輪迴。六道第一個是天道,行十善就升到天上,修四禪八定,也可以升到天上去。第二個是修羅道,修羅有天之福,而沒有天之德,長得很醜惡。第三個是人道,我們現在就屬於人道,世界上有種種人,每個人都不一樣。第四個是畜生道,再其次是餓鬼道,再其次是地獄道,地獄道是罪大惡極的人,這六道輪迴,天上天福享盡了,到人道來,說不定天福享盡了,馬上又變成畜生,墮入惡道,始終是天上、人間、地獄、餓鬼、畜生輪流不停,像車輪一樣,若不知用功、不知修行,生生世世始終在六道輪迴中,受盡生老病死苦,其他的苦太多了,所以人生就是一個苦海。

「六道輪迴苦,孫子娶祖母」我們看到是新郎、新娘,事實上是孫子娶祖母做太太,現在一般人看不見,沒有這個慧眼,沒有這個法眼,沒有天眼,所以每個人都在顛倒當中,「六道輪迴苦,孫子娶祖母」你看這瘋瘋顛顛的,是不是顛倒?「牛羊為上座」,現在來的親戚朋友高朋滿座,這是什麼呢?這些都是過去殺的牛羊,今生轉世為人為上座,「六親鍋內煮」現在煮的雞肉、鴨肉、牛肉是什麼呢?都是過去的六親眷屬,我們想看看,佛、菩薩,有了天眼通,這些事情都看得清清楚楚地,不要吃眾生肉,完全是基於慈悲心、基於平等心,所以我們絕對不要吃眾生肉。

剛才講的這位學者,他講吃素不是我們佛教說的,而無論大乘經典,小乘經典,都講不吃眾生肉,可見他連佛經都沒看過。大乘經講得很清楚,例如菩薩戒當中說,不吃眾生肉,同時還要持六齋日;在小乘經典裏面,佛也告訴我們,要吃三淨肉,要吃五淨肉,我們初初修行學佛,嘴巴起了貪心,貪著口腹,由於吃肉已經吃成習慣了,不吃肉心當中就很難過,就吃不下去,一餐沒有魚肉,就吃不下飯,認為吃魚肉是種快樂,是種享受,其實是在造業,同樣的道理,所以佛就開方便,告訴我們吃三淨肉。

三淨肉是:

不見殺,不教他殺,不為己殺

什麼是三淨肉?我們吃肉時有三個條件,有了這三個條件,吃這個肉就是清淨的,就沒有什麼罪過。第一個條件:不見殺;第二個:不教他殺;第三個:不為己殺,不是專門為自己殺的。什麼叫做不見殺?到市場上去買東西,有很多家庭主婦,到市場上去買東西,看到雞剛剛宰掉的,很新鮮,就把牠買回去,這就是見殺,見殺,見死不救,沒有慈悲心,吃了就要遭罪過,所以我們不要見殺,要買就買死的。第二個自己不殺,也不叫他殺。有很多人自己怕殺生,而叫人家來殺,還不是一樣有罪過。叫人家殺生,這個心很惡毒,自己卻在那兒坐享其成,使人家遭罪過。這樣雖然是沒有殺,可是教唆他殺,教唆犯是幫兇,也是一樣地有罪過。第三個不專門為自己殺。什麼叫做不專門為自己殺?譬如你到親戚朋友家裏去,因為很久沒有看到你,覺得特別親切,特地為你斬個雞,這個雞就不能吃啊!為什麼呢?這一吃了以後,就造了惡業,如果你不去,這隻雞就不死,所以這個雞你就不能吃。

我們要想保全自己的生命,為了自己的健康,雖然不能完全吃素,最低限度也要吃三淨肉,第一個是不見殺;第二個是不自殺,不教他殺;第三個是不為己殺。三淨肉吃習慣了,慢慢善根發現,慈悲心養成了,知道這個三淨肉,還不是最高境界,再進一步要吃五淨肉,什麼叫做五淨肉?五淨肉,具足五個條件,我們吃了這個肉,就絕對不遭罪過了。除了剛才所講的三個條件以外,另外再加兩個,一個是是自死,自己死掉了或者是病死,或者是老死,或者是被人家碰死掉了,這就可以吃。但是現在一般人認為,病死的不能吃,老死的也不能吃,所以這種機會就比較少了。另一個是鳥殘,什麼叫鳥殘?就是山上野獸、鳥類吃剩的腿子,就可以撿回來吃,這種機會又更少了,所以乾脆都不要吃,就完全清淨了。

我們現在吃素也開方便。要知道吃素吃成了習慣就沒有問題,但是在沒有養成習慣以前,心裏面就會有煩惱,好像少了什麼東西,吃了覺得肚子裏沒有味道,嘴巴裏也沒有味道,飯也不想吃了,為了避免這些影響,所以乾脆一個月吃六天素,就稱之為六齋日。有很多人是初一吃素,吃一天素這也是不錯;有的吃早上也可以,都是一個慈悲心。但真正要達到好處,就要吃六天,根據佛經裏面的記載,並沒有吃早齋,也沒有初一、十五吃素的,這是為了世間上的方便。若真正要依據佛法,那就是六天,一個月當中吃素六天,就稱為六齋日。上半月,初八、十四、十五;下半個月,二十三和月底最後兩天,一共加起來是六天。這六天當中絕對不要吃眾生肉,不但不吃眾生肉,而且這六天當中,儘量保持身口意三業清淨。眼睛不看壞的,耳朵不聽壞的,鼻子不聞臭的,嘴巴不說人家是非,心裡也不打妄想,身體多做些善事,這在我們佛法當中,就稱之為六齋日。

有的人在這六天,或其他的時間受八關齋戒,這些都是給我們增長福報,消除業障的。為什麼要持六齋日?我們這個世間一切都是有因有果的,初八這一天是四大天王的部下,來巡視人間的善惡。天龍八部都歸四大天王來管理,這一天天龍八部來巡視人間的善惡,你剛好做了很多善事,天龍八部馬上把你記下來,送到四大天王那裏去,這一生就能增福壽。假使做了壞事,說不定這一生大災大禍很快就要臨頭了,也不用到來世才受報。為什麼?罪大惡極,四大天王不給你來世報,所以這一生很快就要受報。十四這一天,是四大天王的太子,來巡視人間善惡。十五當天,是四大天王親自出馬,來巡視人間善惡,下半個月也是一樣。我們在這六天當中,「諸惡莫作,眾善奉行」,這六天當中不管世間善法、出世間善法,都精進不懈,不去做惡事,就能真正增福壽。

有很多人講,師父你這種說法,好像因為有四大天王來了,我們才做善事。其實這是個方便,等到六天統統養成習慣了,那這一個月,等於就是六齋日一樣。我們人,好的習慣不容易養成,壞的習慣,卻很容易養成。譬如:抽煙、吃酒、嚼檳榔,乃至於過夜生活,這些習慣我們本來沒有,是後來慢慢養成的。壞習慣養成很快,抽煙不到幾次就學會了,但想把煙戒掉是不簡單的。吃酒也是如此,慢慢吃,吃上癮了,要想把酒戒掉,也是不容易,佛法就告訴我們,先把最重要的壞習慣慢慢戒掉,好的習慣、好的念頭養成了,心當中就是一片光明。所以吃素有幾種好處:第一個是長養我們慈悲心。怎麼能完全達到吃素的目的與利益?就是要發心正確。發什麼心?我們也不是貪著功德,功德不能說是沒有,功德是從什麼地方產生出來的?就是從慈悲心長出來的,從平等心長出來的。我們知道,念佛有功德,誦經也有功德,吃素也有功德,究竟功德在那個地方呢?這些都靠我們發心。假使我們沒有發這個心,沒有平等心,也沒有慈悲心,吃素只是為自己著想,為自己就是我相,為我就是貪。貪著自己的身體來吃素,雖然可以達到健康,但是心中天天增長愚痴和無明,並沒有什麼功德,所以我們做任何事情就是要發心正,發心正而吃素,就有無量的功德、無量的福報。

發心不正,雖然是同樣一件事情,就不一定有很大的福德。剛才講的這位學者只看到表面,說這個牛馬羊吃素不能得到解脫,牛馬羊為什麼不能得到解脫?因為牠們沒有發心,沒有發慈悲心,沒有發平等心,完全是業報非吃不可,若不吃草就會死掉,一旦吃草就等於受罪一樣,這是過去的一種惡報,而不是發心,所以那位學者完全是一種偏見。為什麼產生這種見解?譁眾取寵!我們修行學佛,無論在家也好,出家也好,都要親近善知識,能親近一個真修實證的大善知識,這是最重要的。

發心吃素,對修行人而言,是很重要的。我們再來講講現在的歪風。什麼歪風?有很多人本來學佛很精進,也吃素、也受五戒了,最後說密宗可以吃肉、可以吃酒,於是就學密去了。問他為什麼去學密,他說學密很好,可以吃肉,可以吃酒,既可以享受世間的五欲之樂,又可得到解脫,可以即身成佛!我們想想,那有這種事情?這些就是知見不正!密宗為什麼不吃素?以前在西藏是畜牧生活,那個地方沒有蔬菜,所以吃牛羊。現在密法到了台灣,環境改變了,所以有很多人還是吃素。現在很多投機取巧的人,藉著修密法,來行自己的方便,放縱五欲,走錯了路,這就糟糕了。

我們要知道,為什麼修行學佛要吃素?就是一個慈悲心、平等心。有很多人講,吃素沒有營養。前幾年,有一位居士,很晚很晚到萬里山上來敲師父的門,他講,師父很抱歉,我實在是沒有辦法了,所以晚上來請師父給我開示。我問他什麼事情,怎麼這麼晚上山來?他說,師父,實在是不得了,我已經一個月都睡不著了。我問他為什麼會睡不著覺?心當中一定有些問題。他說,在十年以前,曾經向觀世音菩薩許了個願,祈求觀世音菩薩慈悲,若能買了一棟房子,就開始吃素,現在不但買了一棟房子,而且還買了兩棟。照理說應該吃素了,可是又覺得蔬菜沒有味道;另一方面我太太也不給我吃素,說蔬菜裏沒有營養。到底是吃素或是不吃素好呢?如果不吃素,觀音菩薩又滿了我的願,就對不起觀音菩薩;如果是吃素,既不好吃,又沒有口味,又沒有營養。究竟是吃或不吃?不吃,對不起觀音菩薩;吃,又有這些問題出來了,為了這個問題,始終在心中不停地打妄想,想久了,問題就來了。師父!你是拜觀音菩薩的,請師父慈悲跟觀音菩薩講一講,等我在迪化街買了一棟房子,我再來吃素,好不好?我說,就算你在迪化街買一棟房子,你還是不可能吃素。因為你現在認為迪化街的房子很貴,現在這個市政府已遷到吳興街、三張犁那裏去了,將來三張犁那裏的房子漲起來了,你可能又要求觀音菩薩,給你在三張犁買棟房子,再來吃素,就算你在三張犁買到房子了,也是一樣不可能吃素!

現在台灣有很多富貴人家,不要說是一棟、二棟、三棟房子,十棟、二十棟房子都有。他現在不能吃素,即使有二十棟房子,還是不會知足,還要在加拿大、紐西蘭、在香港、在大陸置產,這樣子沒完沒了,始終不會吃素的。我們吃素,好吃不好吃?那一個好吃?那一個不好吃啊?這不是絕對的事情。舉例來說,一般台灣人都喜歡吃清淡的;廣東人又不一樣了,喜歡吃甜甜的、酸酸的、加一點鹽巴,說這個味道是廣東味,這個味道很好。那麼,湖南人又不一樣了,湖南和四川、湖北,這一帶的人喜歡吃什麼?喜歡吃辣的、喜歡吃鹹的,你這一桌子菜再好,假使不辣,也不鹹,他就認為不好吃。另外還有江浙一帶的人,喜歡吃臭的,愈臭覺得愈香,你看現在有很多人喜歡吃臭豆腐,但有很多人聞到臭豆腐,頭都發昏了,你說這個臭的是好吃,還是不好吃呀?還有南方人喜歡吃米,北方人喜歡吃麵,你看那個北方人,他只要一個饅頭,裏面放一個大蒜,再加一瓢辣椒醬,包在這個饅頭裏面,就吃得津津有味,覺得這個東西比過年的食物還好吃,這個就是北方人的口味。這巴西一帶的人又不一樣了,他們喜歡吃酸的,這一桌子的菜,假使沒有酸的,就認為不好吃。另外有人喜歡吃苦瓜,有位先生喜歡吃苦瓜,如果你要請他,先要準備苦瓜,假使這桌子沒有苦瓜,他馬上拍拍屁股就跑掉了。我們想想,酸甜苦辣,哪一個好吃?哪一個不好吃?我們明白了這個問題以後,就知道味道是假的,不是真的,完全是我們心當中的一種分別、一種執著。

在我們佛法來講,諸法緣起、緣起性空,一切現象都是因緣和合所生。因緣沒有了,什麼都是虛妄,什麼都是空的。味道也是如此的,一方面是我們過去養成的習慣,一方面認為這個味道很好吃,很符合自己的口味,這完全是個人的分別、執著。你說哪個好吃?哪個不好吃?再舉個例子來說,有很多做苦力的人,吃的並不好,可是身體卻很健康;反而有很多富貴人家,天天吃好的,甚至還吃補品,身體不一定健康。為什麼?就是因為心當中有煩惱。心當中有了煩惱,吃東西下去就不能消化,沒辦法吸收,吃下去就排掉了。所以,營養不營養,好吃不好吃,並不一定在蔬菜上面。

沒有吃素以前,總認為:

大魚大肉很好吃

這是我們過去的習慣、執著

現在吃素吃習慣了,反而還覺得吃素又香又甜

不管我們是在家也好,出家也好,在還沒有吃素以前,總認為大魚大肉很好吃,粗茶淡飯不好吃,這是我們過去的習慣、執著。現在吃素吃習慣了,十年、二十年、三十年、四十年,反而還覺得吃素又香又甜。過去認為好吃的大魚大肉,現在覺得是臭的,一聞到頭都要發昏。我們想想看,這是什麼道理?過去認為好吃,現在卻認為不好吃了;過去認為不好吃的,現在又認為好吃了;過去認為粗茶淡飯不好吃,現在吃到嘴巴裏又香又甜;過去認為大魚大肉好吃,現在卻認為又腥又臭。這是什麼道理?由此證明吃素、吃葷,那一個好吃完全在於我們這念心。有很多人跑三點半的人,三點半沒有解決。他的朋友說,我實在沒有辦法幫你的忙,只能請你吃一餐,三點半的問題沒有解決,這一餐給他吃再好的,吃完了你問他,這菜好不好吃?他一定不知道,為什麼?他心當中有問題存在,吃完了也沒有味道。所以我們瞭解了以後,吃素也好,吃葷也好,完全是我們心的問題。一般人說蔬菜是沒有營養,這根本沒有道理。現在有很多吃素的,不一定是信宗教才來吃素。其他不信仰宗教的人也來吃素,就是為了健康,蔬菜裏面很有營養。我們現在吃素,吃了幾十年了,從來也不吃葷的東西,身體很健康,這就證明蔬菜裏面的營養也很高。現在荷爾蒙、蛋白質,這一類的東西,有很多都是從植物裏面提煉出來的,很少是從動物裏面提煉出來的,怎麼說蔬菜裏沒有營養?再看看大象、牛、馬不也是吃草嗎?牠們都力大無窮,這就證明植物是很有營養的。

我們現在人的壽命很短,根據歷史記載,以前的人壽命是很長的,幾百歲,幾千歲,甚至還到幾萬歲。我們現在想想,醫藥發達了,科學進步了,應該身體很健康,壽命很長遠,但為什麼不如過去的人呢?這當中很顯而易見的,第一,過去那些人吃的是果子,是天然的東西,穿的是樹葉子,不像現在穿的很奢侈、很豪華。住的是什麼?住的是木頭架子、木頭房子。所以現在一般人研究,喜歡住木頭房子,吃要吃生的,這完全是復古了。我們現在瞭解,過去的人身體很健康、很長壽,一個是住木頭房子,一個是吃天然的水果,就知道素食是很營養、很健康的。過去的老祖宗就是吃素、就是住木房子,你看燧人氏鑽木取火,有巢氏架木為巢,就是用木頭來做房子。我們現在一般人為了健康也住木頭房子,由這些證明,我們現在吃素,一定是很健康,一定是很營養。

不吃眾生肉,因為眾生是未來的佛、未來的菩薩

人人都有生命

愛護我們自己的生命,也要尊重

人家的生命

佛法講吃素的理由,不是為了要活幾百歲,而是一種慈悲心、平等心。我們不吃眾生肉,因為眾生是未來的佛、未來的菩薩,這是第一個道理。第二個道理,人人都有生命,愛護我們自己的生命,也要尊重人家的生命。第三是基於三世因果的道理。基於這些道理,我們清楚了為什麼要吃素,這樣子就是個因,是什麼因?是菩提因、是正因,基於這個因來做事情,果報就是無量的。假使沒有這個正因來吃素,固然善法還是有善報,不過就減少了很多。

不僅佛法如此,世間法也是如此。不管是做官的也好,做生意的也好,行醫的也好,讀書的也好,乃至於從事軍事的也好,要把我們這個心檢討檢討,為什麼要當醫生?為什麼要從事政治?為什麼要經營建築?為什麼要經營商業?為什麼要研究學問?把這念心檢討出來,假使這念心正了,那麼現在所做所為都是無量功德,現在就是行菩薩行。假使這念心不正,那麼我們所做所為,不但沒有功德,而且自己還打妄想、造惡業。不但是社會上如此,對我們修行人也是如此。我們為什麼要出家?為什麼要修行?這觀念要正確。假使這個觀念不正,雖然是出家修行,也沒有功德,怎麼說呢?我現在是受了刺激來出家的,是為了逃避債務來出家的,這些觀念就是不正,「因地不真,果遭紆曲」,也就得不到出家的大利益。

誦經也是如此的。為什麼要誦經?為什麼要打坐?我們要把這個觀念弄清楚。社會上也有很多人誦經,很多人打坐,他有沒有功德?不一定有功德。不但沒有功德,還給自己帶來些煩惱。為什麼?譬如誦經,社會上有所謂誦經團,人家死了,請他誦經,誦了經以後,還要講價錢,跟買賣一樣,就是把佛經,當成做買賣、做生意了,在我們佛法來講,這就稱之為「販賣如來」,不但沒有功德,而且還遭罪過。同樣是佛法,誦經是好事,為什麼會變成罪過?就是因為這念心不正!我們打坐也是一樣的。打坐可以明心見性,可以修定修慧,可以得到禪定,社會上有很多人來打坐,他不是基於這個觀點,而是想:我來打坐,可能得到神通,我來打坐,菩薩會來跟我講話,可能可以悟個「明牌」出來,這樣子來打坐,可能會得到神經病,實實在在是如此的。打坐有所求,希望菩薩告訴你,某某人的三世因果,這樣子保證你會出毛病,所以這念心,非常地微妙,心正了,時時刻刻都是善法,時時刻刻都是光明;這念心不正,做了事情也不一定能得到福報。

例如從事政治的人,參加選舉,端看他是發什麼心?假使是發慈悲心來選舉,為了國家、社會,為了我們台灣能夠安定,使每個人得到安定,事業和家庭得到保障,來從事慈悲、平等、愛民的政治,這種當官的人,官當的愈大愈好,現在就是菩薩!因為有了社會地位了,可以做更多事情,這不是菩薩行是什麼呢?假使不明白這個道理,只是為了膨脹自己來選舉,當中不外乎是名利財色,就糟糕了,不但身敗名裂,將來還要墮入惡道,所以這一念心的差別,是非常非常微細的,差之毫釐,失之千里。在我們佛法來講,「三界唯心,萬法唯識」,修行沒有別的,就看怎樣調心?怎樣運用我們這念心?怎樣定心?怎樣淨心?哪個是光明的?哪個是黑暗的?哪些該做?哪些不應該做?佛法上就告訴我們這些道理。

這念心,時時刻刻都在定慧當中

又有定力,又有智慧

這就是佛法

我們這念心,像一片鏡子,不落一點塵垢,像一潭止水一樣,不生一念妄想,時時刻刻都在定慧當中,又有定力、又有智慧,這就是佛法。真正到達了這個程度,這個心有定力、有智慧,就像一般所說,「心想事成」、「心靈福至」,學業一定會成就,事業一定會成就。這時,心通法界,心當中定了,心當中有智慧,這念心一動,就產生感應出來,假使沒有到達這個程度,我們這個心,怎樣也沒有辦法產生感應出來。因為心散亂、心顛倒、心昏沈、心糊塗,晚上睡覺都會做惡夢,白天昏昏沈沈地,什麼事都判斷不清,哪裏還有什麼感應?

所以吃素和修行學佛有什麼關係?關係是很深的!不論是大乘經、小乘經,都講要吃素。有很多人沒弄清楚佛法,為了膨脹自己而亂講話,害了很多真正想要修行學佛的人,使得發心的人走錯了路,所以我們很簡單、很扼要地把這些道理提示出來,使每個想要修行學佛的人能走對路頭,首先要有慈悲心。慈悲心的養成,第一個是不殺生,第二個是救生,第三個就是要吃素。就是這樣子在日常生活上來磨鍊自己、來訓練自己,最後到達真正慈悲、平等,這個心就清淨了、就解脫了。

佛法是最實在的真理,做一分就得一分,做十分就得十分,所以吃素和我們修行學佛,實在有很密切的關係。佛法第一個就要有福德,福德的產生,就要有戒行。哪些該做?哪些不該做?吃素是件好事情,對我們身體健康也很好。從醫學上來講,吃素會減少高血壓,減少很多癌症,身體也會減少很多疾病。而我們佛法不是從這個觀點來吃素,完全是基於慈悲心,所以希望每個人,不管是要想提昇自己,或是要使自己身體健康,或想增長智慧、增長福德、增長慈悲心也好,都應該要修行學佛。要想修行學佛,第一個根本要件,就是要慢慢地養成我們的正知正見,第一步慢慢習慣吃三淨肉,吃了三淨肉,然後再吃五淨肉,從不殺生、救生、進而吃素,這樣子學佛就很有進步。

所以吃素和學佛是很有密切關係的,同時與我們自己的身體健康,與我們的福德,與我們的智慧,與我們的定力都有很大的關連,希望我們每一個人要有這樣的認識。相信有智慧的人,對於自己一定會觀照、愛護,從什麼地方去愛護?就要從因上去愛護,不要從果上去求,種因一定得果,種什麼因,將來一定得什麼果,我們修行學佛,要想更上一層樓,就要從這方向去努力。[:]