很多人不信因果業報的理由不外乎眼見善人無善終,而惡人卻坐享榮貴等不平現象。我們必須承認,古今中外世上的確有很多的爛人,儘管他們平時無惡不做,素行不端,卻仍能升官發財,輝煌騰達,事事如意。既然「善有善報、惡有惡報」,何以如此?

    這個問題,必須貫通「過去」、「現在」、及「未來」等三世,以及從「世上只有聖人及凡人之別,而凡人因為有貪嗔痴,所以並不存在絕對的好人及壞人」等兩個角度來思維,才能粗略的理解。

    佛教承認有「輪迴」的事實,而導致輪迴的原因是「無明」、「渴愛」、與「業力」。所謂的「過去世」並不是單指前一生,而是泛指過去無窮無盡的生生世世。在漫長的過去生死輪迴中,我們可能曾經是好人,但也可能受到誘惑或刺激而犯錯。不論我們曾經作過什麼好事或壞事,都必將深深的烙印及刻鏤在我們的五蘊生命中,無法抹滅,且如影隨形的伴隨著我們輪迴,構成我們的命運。正因為過去世我們好事作作,壞事也作作,所以編織出苦樂參半且五味雜陳的人生,至於一生順遂或悲慘多舛者則較為少見。

    佛教徒開始修行後,如果生活順遂,那未必是今生的善行或修行所致,多半是前生或多生以前的善業已成熟;如果開始修行後迭逢不幸或倒楣,亦與今生的善行或修行無關,那是導因於過去前生或多生已前的惡業已成熟所致。

    本篇是選譯自巴利英譯《法句經的註釋》故事集中的一篇,經文中的在家人在布薩齋戒日很虔誠地去寺院受持八關齋戒,並徹夜聽聞佛法。沒想到,隔日,竟慘遭橫禍,遭人誣陷而打死。

    當時,有許多比丘不能接受這樣的事實,他們認為這位在家人如此善良虔誠,不該遭受如此橫禍。

    佛陀解釋,如果從這位在家人今生的善行來看的話,那麼他確實不該橫死。但,他是在償還過去前生的某一世的惡業。過去很久以前,他曾是一位國王,他愛上了一位有夫之婦,為了橫刀奪愛,他把那位婦人的丈夫給打死了。因此惡業,使他墮入四惡趣。

    所以我們行善或修行時,若遇挫折也切莫灰心,因為「善有善報、惡有惡報;不是不報、是時辰未到」。

第十二品 自己品161

惡業由己造,從己心生起;
惡業毀愚人,如金剛磨珠。

選譯自巴利英譯《法句經的註釋》故事集第12品自己品

喬正一白話譯於西元2015/8/21農曆七月初八之八關齋戒日

  在一個布薩齋戒的日子,有一個名叫摩訶迦羅的在家人到祇樹給孤獨園林去參加八關齋戒,並且留在僧團裡徹夜聽聞佛法。

    當晚,有幾個小偷闖入某戶人家裡,那一家人驚醒,急忙追趕小偷。

    有些小偷往精舍的方向逃去,這時天漸漸亮了,摩訶迦羅也正要到精舍附近的池塘去洗臉。這些小偷便把偷來的東西丟在摩訶迦羅的面前,然後逃之夭夭。

    失主這時候正好追來,看見摩訶迦羅和贓物,便誤認他是小偷,不分青紅皂白將他抓住並痛打了一番,摩訶迦羅當場被打死。

    天亮時,比丘們到池塘來取水,赫然發現他慘死的屍體。

    比丘們立即趕回精舍向佛陀報告這件事,並感嘆說:「世尊!徹夜在精舍聽聞佛法的在家信徒摩訶迦羅竟死的那麼慘,真是不公平啊。」

    佛陀說:「比丘們!如果你們從他今生的善行來看的話,那麼他確實不該橫死。但,他是在償還過去前生的某一世的惡業。過去很久以前,他曾是一位國王,他愛上了一位有夫之婦,為了橫刀奪愛,他把那位婦人的丈夫給打死了。因此惡業,使他墮入四惡趣。」

    於是,佛陀說了以下的偈語作總結:

惡業由己造,從己心生起;
惡業毀愚人,如金剛磨珠。

英譯版/

Dhammapada Verse 161
Mahakala Upasaka Vatthu

Attana hi katam papam
attajam attasambhavam
abhimatthati dummedham
vajiramva'smamayam manim.

Verse 161: The evil done by oneself, arising in oneself, and caused by oneself, destroys the foolish one, just as a diamond grinds the rock from which it is formed.


The Story of Mahakala Upasaka

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (161) of this book, with reference to Mahakala, a lay disciple.

On a certain sabbath day, Mahakala, a lay disciple, went to the Jetavana monastery. On that day, he kept the sabbath by observing the eight moral precepts (Uposatha sila) and listened to the discourses on the Dhamma throughout the night. It so happened that on that same night, some thieves broke into a house; and the owners on waking up went after the thieves. The thieves ran away in all directions. Some ran in the direction of the monastery. It was then nearing dawn, and Mahakala was washing his face at the pond close to the monastery. The thieves dropped their stolen property in front of Mahakala and ran on. When the owners arrived, they saw Mahakala with the stolen property. Taking him for one of the thieves they shouted at him, threatened him and beat him hard. Mahakala died on the spot. Early in the morning, when some young bhikkhus and samaneras from the monastery came to the pond to fetch water, they saw the dead body and recognize it.

On their return to the monastery, they reported what they had seen and said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! The lay disciple who was at this monastery listening to the religious discourses all through the night has met with a death which he does not deserve." To them the Buddha replied, "Bhikkhus! If you judge from the good deeds he has done in this existence, he has indeed met with a death he does not deserve. But the fact is that he has only paid for the evil he had done in a past existence. In one of his previous existences, when he was a courtier in the palace of the king, he fell in love with another man's wife and had beaten her husband to death. Thus, evil deeds surely get one into trouble; they even lead one to the four apayas."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 161: The evil done by oneself, arising in oneself, and caused by oneself, destroys the foolish one, just as a diamond grinds the rock from which it is formed.