虔誠的信解 Earnest Faith

在《法句譬喻經》中有一則關於篤信的教化。

佛陀在世時,舍衛城的東南邊有一條大河,河水既深又廣。沿岸住著五百多戶人家,他們皆是以捕魚為業,因為從未聽聞過清淨的佛法,所以慣行貪婪自私的行為,並具有欺瞞不實的頑劣惡習。

有一天,佛陀觀察這些眾生,得度的因緣已經成熟,便走到河邊的一棵大樹下禪坐。當村民見到佛身散發光明奇特的祥和,讓每人都感到非常驚奇,並予以讚歎,於是一一都來向佛陀問訊禮拜。

慈悲的佛陀讓他們也在樹下坐下,並為他們開示五戒十善的法義。然而這些人因長久以來習慣欺騙別人、不相信真理,所以內心無法生起真誠的信心。此時,世尊便以神通變化出另一個人,從河的對岸,裸足踏水而來,走到佛前稽首禮拜。

眾人見到這樣的事,都感到非常驚訝,於是問化人說:「我們長年居住在此,從未見聞過有人能履水如地,你究竟是何許人?有何法術能令你走在水上,而不沉沒呢?」

化人回答說:「我是住在這條河南邊,由於知道自己愚鈍,又聽說佛陀在這裡說法,就渴望渡河前來聞法。可是河水滔滔,根本不能過來,便先請問了岸邊的 人,此河水深嗎?他們告訴我:『這水很淺,只淹到腳踝,可以涉水而過。』我只是因為相信他們所言,心中便無所恐懼地從對岸走過來,並非有什麼特別的法 術。」

這時佛陀便讚歎化人說:「善哉!善哉!憑著對真理虔誠的信解,即可超越生死的深淵;那麼走過數里寬的河面,又何足為奇呢?」

於是世尊又繼續為大家宣說信心的種種功德利益,村民們聞佛所說,又見證了信心的功德,此時心開意解,發起堅固的信心,便都求受了五戒,一心奉行佛法,成為清淨的居士。

In the Dharmapada Sutra, there is a story about earnest faith.

At the time of the Buddha, there was once a big river southeast of the city Sravasti. Its waters were deep and wide. More than five hundred families lived along its banks as fishermen. They have not yet heard about the qualities of the Path or the way of salvation from the worldly. Their manners were violent, and were busy cheating each other. They coveted gain, and were licentious, rash, and extremely willful. The World-honored One constantly thought he should go there to save those among them who should be saved. He knew that these families should be saved by their merits. Thereupon the World-honored One went to the riverbank and sat down under a tree. When the villagers saw the Buddha’s bright appearance, they found it extraordinary, and there was none who was not impressed. They all went to pay their respects. Some saluted and some bowed, asking how he was.

The Buddha told them to sit down, and he expounded the Doctrine of the scriptural text. The crowd heard it, but they did not believe in it because they were used to fraud and were skeptical of any true words. The Buddha then magically caused someone to appear, coming from the south of the river. Walking on the water, just wet to his ankles, he came to the Buddha. He prostrated and greeted the Buddha.

When the crowd saw this, there was none who was not astonished. They asked the transformed person: “From the time of our ancestors we have lived on these shores, yet we have never seen anyone walking on the water. Who are you, sir? What kind of magic do you have that you are able to tread on water and not drown? Please explain it to us.”

The transformed person answered: “ I am a foolish person from south of the river. When I heard that the Buddha was here, I wanted to enjoy the virtues of the Path, but when I arrived at the southern shore, I could not cross in time. I asked someone on the shore whether the water was deep or shallow. He said: ‘The water may reach up to your ankles. Why do you not wade across?’ I trusted his words and just crossed over like that. There is nothing strange or miraculous about it.”

The Buddha then said in praise: “Excellent! Excellent! If you have faith, you may truly cross the abyss of birth and death. Why be astonished about walking across a river that is a few kilometers wide?”

The Buddha continued to explain other merits of faith and its benefits. When the villagers heard the Buddha’s exposition, their faith was realized. Their minds opened up and their faith was firm. They all received the five precepts and become people of pure faith.

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