智慧第一的讖摩比丘尼

佛陀的學生裡,男性出家眾分別被佛譽為智慧第一及神通第一的是舍利弗尊者及目犍連尊者,而女性出家眾則分別是讖摩(漢譯為讖摩)比丘尼與蓮花色比丘尼。他們就像是佛陀的兩隻手,共同撐起了宣揚佛法的重任。

在古印度,女性的地位非常的卑微,若非長相漂亮引人,或具聰明才智,或出身高貴,否則均不受重視。讖摩比丘尼能在那樣的社會裡受到佛陀特別的倚重,足見其確有不讓鬚眉的優秀特質。相信讖摩比丘尼的故事,足以激勵所有有心嚮往解脫道的女性佛弟子。

巴利語是古印度佛陀時代流行的語言,本篇是從巴利佛典裡分別節錄出來的故事,再經由現今來自歐美的大長老將之譯為英文版本,筆者再從英文佛經轉譯為中文,與大家分享。但為使內容前後一貫,有些細節則添入北傳漢譯的情節,並無偽造或變造任何不實內容,特此聲明。

選譯自南傳巴利英譯阿含部

喬正一譯於西元2008/2/24八關齋戒日

 


就如同男性出家眾分別被佛譽為智慧第一及神通第一的是舍利弗尊者及目犍連尊者,而女性出家眾則分別是讖摩(漢譯為讖摩)比丘尼與蓮花色比丘尼。

    讖摩一名與巴利語中的「平安」、「安穩」或「安全」同義。讖摩比丘尼出生於古印度摩羯陀國的皇室,當她已屆適婚年齡,她嫁給了頻婆娑羅王,成為這位大國王的眾妃之一。她的婚姻相當幸福,婚後的生活一如她外表一般美麗。

    有一次,她從丈夫那裡聽到有關佛陀這位聖者的傳聞,她雖然很感興趣,但不是很想聽佛陀的教導,因為她總覺得佛陀會譴責感官的享樂,而這正是她目前所過的生活,也是她所愛的生活。她的丈夫---頻婆梭羅王,很瞭解這位愛妃的個性,便邀請讖摩到竹林精舍一遊。他對讖摩描述竹林精舍的平靜、安詳、與優美,而這座精舍正是頻婆梭羅王奉獻給佛陀的林園。這些都符合讖摩所愛,因為讖摩天生熱愛大自然,尤其是平靜、安詳、與優美的自然景觀,所以她很想去參觀。

    她盛裝打扮,穿著華服,來到了竹林精舍。佛陀很瞭解讖摩,他深知若直接對讖摩說一些有關「美色無常」的教法,一定無法令讖摩接受,於是以神通變化出一位絕色的美少女,手持扇子為佛搧風。讖摩發現這位美少女比自己還要美麗好幾倍,深受吸引,心想:「哇!這位大美女真是人間難得一見,大家都說佛陀貶抑美色,看來是我誤會了佛陀。」

    沒想到,這位美少女突然變成了中年熟女,接著再變成老態龍鍾的老婦,呈現出脫落的牙齒、滿頭白髮、遲緩鬆皺的皮膚,最後倒地一命嗚呼。讖摩太驚訝於眼前的變換,深受震撼,一時間呆住了,自忖:「連如此的大美女都尚且難逃老、病、死的命運,更何況是我?」

佛陀趁此機會對她說:「讖摩啊,妳瞧,眼前的這位大美女如今已塵歸塵,土歸土。她經歷了生病、痛苦、骯髒、腐爛與死亡的歷程,膿血與體液四處淌流,只有愚蠢的凡夫俗子才會迷戀貪愛這些不真實的組合。」

讖摩一聽,立即證得初果。

佛陀進一步對她說:「凡夫干於作慾望的奴隸,在慾海中沈浮,隨波逐流。猶如蜘蛛樂於在自己編織的迷網中滑行,以苦為樂。唯有覺醒的智者勇於斬斷這些繫縛與桎梏,永享安穩的解脫之樂。」

讖摩非常專注的聆聽佛陀的教導,因為過於專注,便進入了甚深禪定,隨著佛陀的話如理思維,當佛陀一說完,她立即斷除一切的煩惱,徹底覺悟,雖然仍身穿華服錦衣,但心智已達阿羅漢果,讖摩已經解脫了。

讖摩得到了丈夫的允許,捨俗加入了比丘尼僧團。

一般人聽到讖摩的故事,只會看到眼前發生的奇蹟。但佛陀卻看得更遠,更透徹。佛陀深知讖摩能如此快速的解脫,絕非出於偶然或好運氣,讖摩是歷經了生生世世長期培育的功德,直到今生業緣成熟才可能如此。

在很遙遠的過去,讖摩就已經在許多佛陀面前植下善因,結下善緣。由於她天生喜愛最高真理,因此總是出生在有佛陀住世的地方。據說,無數的歲月以前,她為了供養一位蓮花上佛而賣掉一頭烏溜美麗的秀髮。

在九十一劫以前,出現了一位毘婆尸佛,她當時就已是那位佛陀座下的比丘尼,且為比丘尼僧團中的老師。此外,在距現今釋迦牟尼佛以前出現過的三位佛陀時代,她是一位在家女弟子,當時她為僧伽建造精舍,經由這份善行,使她生生世世,人間天上,獲得幸福與快樂。

當絕大多數眾生都還在天堂與地獄輪迴流轉時,讖摩總是努力追尋智慧的源頭。當世間沒有佛出現的時候,他會轉生到有辟支佛或釋迦牟尼佛前生的地方。有一世,她是釋迦牟尼佛前生的妻子,當時釋迦牟尼佛的前身總是如此的勸誡他的家人:

應隨自己的經濟能力去布施行善,在齋戒日時應遵守八關齋戒,並持戒清淨。提醒自己終有死亡之日,眾生一出生就已注定奔向死亡。任何現象,不論好與壞,終有敗壞及消失的一天。應日夜時刻提醒自己這些事情。

    當讖摩還是釋迦牟尼佛前生妻子的時候,她的獨子被毒蛇咬死,但她卻依然保持平靜的心,勇敢的接受這不可改變的事實,她是這麼說的:「我沒有請他(指她的獨子)來,他卻自己來;我沒有叫他走,他卻走得這麼突然。他就像是一個過客一樣,來來去去,我又何需悲傷?親友們都替我難過,但他們其實是在悲傷死者所化的塵土。他(指她的獨子)不過是走他遲早一定會走的路(指死亡),我若是不斷哭泣,對他(指她的獨子)或對我自己又有何益?我若不斷哭泣,也只是徒令我的家人及親友難過,平添哀愁與痛苦而已。」

    又曾於某一世,她是釋迦牟尼佛前生的兒媳婦,她的丈夫就是今世被譽為智慧第一的舍利弗尊者的前生。舍利弗尊者的前生是一位正直的國王,當時她是一位偉大的皇后,他們一起遵守成為明君的十種品德:布施、持戒、出離、忠誠、仁慈、忍辱、和睦、不害、謙卑與正義。因為這十種品德,所以他們過著幸福與快樂的生活。

    正因為讖摩已經在過去前世的輪迴裡淨化並提升了自己的心智,且已趨成熟,所以今生才能一遇佛陀時,瞬間開悟。因此,佛陀當眾稱讚讖摩為比丘尼中智慧第一。

 

Khema of Great Wisdom [go up]

Just as there were two foremost disciples in the order of monks, namely Sariputta and Moggallana, likewise the Buddha named two women as foremost amongst nuns, namely Uppalavanna and Khema.

The name Khema means well-settled or composed or security and is a synonym for Nibbana. The nun Khema belonged to a royal family from the land of Magadha. When she was of marriageable age, she became one of the chief consorts of King Bimbisara. As beautiful as her appearance was, equally beautiful was her life as the wife of an Indian Maharaja.

When she heard about the Buddha from her husband, she became interested, but she had a certain reluctance to become involved with his teaching. She felt that the teaching would run counter to her life of sense-pleasures and indulgences. The king, however, knew how he could influence her to listen to the teaching. He described at length the harmony, the peace and beauty of the monastery in the Bamboo Grove, where the Buddha stayed frequently. Because she loved beauty, harmony and peace, she was persuaded to visit there.

Decked out in royal splendor with silk and sandalwood, she went to the monastery. The Exalted One spoke to her and explained the law of impermanence of all conditioned beauty to her. She penetrated this sermon fully and still dressed in royal garments, she attained to enlightenment. Just like the monk, Mahakappina — a former king — she likewise became liberated through the power of the Buddha's words while still dressed in the garments of the laity. With her husband's permission she joined the Order of Nuns. Such an attainment, almost like lightning, is only possible however where the seed of wisdom has long been ripening and virtue is fully matured.

An ordinary person, hearing Khema's story, only sees the wonder of the present happening. A Buddha can see beyond this and knows that this woman did not come to full liberation accidentally. It came about like this: In former times when a Buddha appeared in the world, then Khema in those past lives also appeared near him, or so it has been recounted. Due to her inner attraction towards the highest Truth, she always came to birth wherever the bearer and proclaimer of such Truth lived. It is said that already innumerable ages ago she had sold her beautiful hair to give alms to the Buddha Padumuttara. During the time of the Buddha Vipassi, ninety-one eons ago, she had been a teacher of Dhamma. Further it is told, that during the three Buddhas of our happy eon, which were previous to our Buddha Gautama, she was a lay disciple and gained happiness through building monasteries for the Sangha.

While most beings mill around heaven or hell realms during the life-time of a Buddha, Khema always tried to be near the source of wisdom. When there was no Buddha appearing in the world, she would be reborn at the time of Pacceka-Buddhas or Bodhisattas. In one birth she was the wife of the Bodhisatta, who always exhorted his peaceful family like this:

According to what you have got, give alms;
Observe the Uposatha days, keep the precepts pure;
Dwell upon the thought of death and be mindful of your mortal state.
For in the case of beings like ourselves, death is certain, life is uncertain;
All existing things are transitory and subject to decay.
Therefore be heedful of your ways day and night.

One day Khema's only son in this life was suddenly killed by the bite of a poisonous snake, yet she was able to keep total equanimity:

Uncalled he hither came, without leave departed, too;
Even as he came, he went. What cause is here for woe?
No friend's lament can touch the ashes of the dead:
Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.
Though I should fast and weep, how would it profit me?
My kith and kin, alas! would more unhappy be.
No friend's lament can touch the ashes of the dead:
Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.

(J 354)

Another time — so it is told — she was she daughter-in-law of the Bodhisatta (J 397), many times a great Empress who dreamt about receiving teaching from the Bodhisatta and then actually was taught by him (J 501,502,534). It is further recounted that as a Queen she was always the wife of he who was later Sariputta, who said about her:

Of equal status is the wife,
Obedient, speaking only loving words,
With children, beauty, fame, garlanded,
She always listens to my words.

(J 502,534)

This husband in former lives was a righteous king, who upheld the ten royal virtues: Generosity, morality, renunciation, truthfulness, gentleness, patience, amity, harmlessness, humility, justice. Because of these virtues the king lived in happiness and bliss. Khema, too, lived in accordance with these precepts. (J 534)

Only because Khema had already purified her heart and perfected it in these virtues, in many past lives she was now mature enough and had such pure and tranquil emotions, that she could accept the ultimate Truth in the twinkling of an eye.The Buddha praised her as the nun foremost in wisdom.

 

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