阿 姜 曼 正 傳 

 

第二章第七節:心性的差異

    

                                          

        

第二章第七節:心性的差異

    說完了天人,我現在該寫一些來參訪阿姜曼的人類訪客。身為人類,我自己也在這則事件中;但以下若有任何不吸引人的地方或不當之處,我都願跟讀者致歉。就某方面來說,你們肯定會發現到我有一種無可救藥的調皮個性。然而,我覺得有必要忠實記錄阿姜曼私下跟弟子們說的一切。我懇求你們的原諒,我收錄這則事件是為了讓你們可以比較人類與天神的差異,並從中學習。

        阿姜曼說,人類與天神,跟他溝通的方式以及在聽法的時候都很不一樣,每一層天界的天人,從最高的天界到最接近人間的天界都一樣,都比人類更容易理解所開示的法義。而當開示結束時,祂們的讚嘆聲 —— 「善哉!∼善哉!∼善哉!」 —— 聲音會迴盪在一切的天界。每一層天界的天人對比丘都極為尊重,沒有任何天人會表現出不當的舉止。當祂們來聽比丘說法時,舉止總是沉穩、整齊有序、極為優雅。而人類,就另一方面來說,卻不一定能真正領悟法義 —— 即便經過多次的解釋也一樣。他們不僅抓不到重點,還會雞蛋裡挑骨頭,他們會這麼想:「他到底在說什麼啊?我都聽不懂。他不像其他的比丘說得那麼好。」一些之前出家過的人,會忍不住而表現出大無明,吹噓道:「我是比丘的時候,說得都比他好太多了。我能讓聽眾大笑,不會讓他們累到覺得想睡覺。我可以帶動氣氛,跟大家打成一片,讓他們哄堂大笑。」還有一些人會這樣想:「傳聞這個比丘有他心通,根本就不實。如果他有他心通,那麼我們在想什麼,他應該立刻就會知道。不然,為什麼他不知道我在想什麼?如果他真知道,就該給我一點表示 —— 就算是間接暗示也行啊!比如說這個人或那個人不應該這樣想,因為那是不對的。這樣我就會知道他是否名實相符了。」有的人會來找碴,好炫耀自己有多聰明。這種人對「法」一點興趣都沒有,在他們的面前說法就好比在狗的背部澆水 —— 牠們會立即甩動身體,不留下任何一滴水。

        阿姜曼說到這種人的時候,常常會笑,可能是因為他覺得這些跟他偶遇的人都很有趣吧!他說有些來參訪他的人非常堅持己見,固執到幾乎無法走路,因為他們自以為是的包袱重到已遠超出一般凡人所能承載的重量。他們的驕慢大到往往令他感到的是不安而非憐憫,使他不願再說法。雖然如此,還是會有一些不可避免的特殊狀況,讓他必須要說些什麼。但當他正要說話時,「法」卻似乎消失了,他想不到該說什麼,就好像「法」無法與這種盛氣凌人的驕慢對抗 —— 所以,它(法)溜走了。留下來的只剩身體,像一個沒有生命的玩偶娃娃一樣坐在那裡,被針給釘住,就好像沒有生命一般被大家所忽視。在這種時候,沒有任何的「法」會生起,就像一棵被砍倒的樹樁一樣坐著。在這種情況下,又怎麼可能會有「法」呢?

        當阿姜曼向他的弟子說這些事情的時候都會笑,但聽眾中有一些人卻實際上是在發抖。因為他們沒有發燒,天氣也不冷,所以我們只能假定他們是因不安而顫抖。阿姜曼說,除非真有必要,不然他是不會去教非常驕慢的人,因為他的開示對那些沒有恭敬心的人來說,會變成有毒之物。阿姜曼所擁有的「法」是至高無上的,對那些想要真誠去建設「心」的人來說價值匪淺,他們從不會認為自己勝過「法」。這是我們要記住的一個非常重要的重點,凡有果就必有前因。當許多人坐在一起聽法的時候,有一些人會感到不舒服的焦熱,熱到都快要溶化;而有些人卻覺得清涼,彷彿飄在空中一般。箇中的差異,其原因就出在「心」,其他的都不重要。對那些心中拒絕「法」的人,他根本就沒有辦法去減輕他們的重擔。有的人可能會認為,教導他們雖無實質效果,卻也不致招來危害。但事實上並非如此,因為像這種人還是一定會去做招致後患的事情 —— 不管別人怎麼說。所以教導人類真的不容易,就算只是一小群人,難免當中就是會有個性不好的討厭鬼。但阿姜曼不像大多數人一樣會被激怒,他只是放下,不再理會他們。當阿姜曼沒有辦法去改變這樣的人時,就會認為那是他們的業力在作祟。

        那些為了追尋「法」而帶著恭敬心來參訪他的人,都相信他們的行為所帶來的善果 —— 他非常悲憫這些人 —— 雖然他們是少之又少。然而,那些不去尋找有用之物又不自制的人卻占了大多數,因此阿姜曼喜歡住在山林間,這樣的環境令他愉快,也比較自在。在這些地方,他可以竭盡全力去修行,不需要擔心外界的干擾。不管他到哪裡,所看到的一切,所想的一切,「法」都在其中,帶來了一種很清晰的解脫感。看著森林中的動物,像猴子、金葉猴、長臂猿等在林間懸掛擺盪及嬉戲,聽著牠們在林間彼此叫喚,生起了一種內在平靜祥和的喜樂。當牠們在找食物的時候,他不需要去想牠們是怎麼看待他的。這種位於森林深處的獨居,在生活的每一方面都令他感到振奮與雀躍。萬一他在那個時候死掉了,也是完全愉悅與滿足。這就是真正自然方式的死亡:獨自而來,獨自離去。所有的阿羅漢都是以這種方式般無餘涅槃Parinibbāna,因為他們的心不會留有任何的困惑與動盪煩亂。他們只有一副身軀,一顆心,和專注的一念。他們不會急著去找苦,也不會累積情感的執著而讓自己憂心忡忡。他們會像聖者一般活在這個世間,並像聖者一般離世。他們不會捲入當下會造成焦慮與悲傷的是非當中,他們全都一塵不染,對所有的感官對象都沒有貪愛與執著,與世上凡夫的行為模式形成強烈鮮明的對比:心的包袱如果愈重,他們就會愈添加並加重他們的負荷。至於聖者,包袱變得愈輕,他們捨棄的就愈多。然後,他們安住於「空」,即使是知道「空」仍存在的心 —— 也不再有什麼背負裝載及卸下捨棄的動作了。這就是經典上所謂達到「所作已辦」,意思是指「心」在佛法的修行中已經沒有功課要修了,「所作已辦」out of work就是最高的幸福,這與世俗的意義完全不同,因為對於俗人來說,「out of work」即是沒有謀生能力而失業,就等於是不斷增長的痛苦。

        阿姜曼提過天神與人類之間有很多的差異,但我在此記錄下那些我只記得的部分,以及那些我認為對聰明的讀者有幫助的部分。也許這些陳述,諸如天界諸神的事件等,都應根據主題的內容而將它們歸在同一段落裡。但由於這些天神請法的事件在阿姜曼的一生中經常出現,所以我認為應盡可能按照他生命的歷程來敘述。接下來會有更多關於天神方面的敘述,但我不敢將這些不同的情節都拼湊在一起,因為這樣做會讓故事沒有交集的部分都匯集在相同的一點上。所以如果有任何造成讀者不便之處,敬請原諒。

        阿姜曼離世已逾二十年,他生前所提到的那些天神與人類,很可能因「無常」的定律而改變了,只留下可能有一些修行並相應改進其行為的一代。至於阿姜曼在世遇過的那些有爭議的人,可能這種人也因已不在而無法擾亂國家及宗教。從那個時候起,教育制度有很大的改善;受過良好教育的人不可能有粗鄙的野心,這帶給現今的人們一些慰藉。

        阿姜曼住在泰國的烏隆府及廊開府並教導當地的出家及在家眾一段相當的時間後,便開始東向色軍府。他遊遍了WarichabhumPhang KhonSawang Dan DinWanon NiwatAkat Amnuay等地山林間的小村落,然後又從Sri Songkhram縣開始在那空帕農府行腳,途經Ban Sam PhongBan Non DaengBan Dong NoiBan Kham Nokkok等地的村落。這些地方都是深山曠野與瘧疾橫行之地,在當時當地所罹患的都是難以治癒的疾病:如果有人染上了,一整年可能都無法痊癒。就算不死,活著也是一種煎熬。就像我之前已提過的,瘧疾這種病被稱作是「親人間的恥辱」,因為罹患這種病的人雖能四處走動並吃東西,卻無法工作,有些病患甚至因此變成永久的殘疾。在那個地區的村民,以及森林裡的比丘與沙彌,就經常是瘧疾的受害者,有些人甚至因而喪命。阿姜曼曾連續三年在Ban Sam Phong的附近度過雨安居,在那段期間,有不少的比丘死於疾病。一般來說,農耕區的瘧疾較稀少,那些來自農耕區的比丘 —— 例如:烏汶、黎逸 (Roi Et)以及瑪哈沙拉堪(Maha Sarakham)等府 —— 就非常不適應山區及森林的環境。他們很難與阿姜曼一起住在森林裡,因為他們忍受不了瘧疾。他們在雨季期間不得不離開,在被田野所圍繞的村落附近度過雨安居。

        阿姜曼回憶道,當他在傍晚時分於Sam Phong村為比丘與沙彌說法時,有一條來自Songkhran河中的龍神幾乎每一次都會來聽法。如果開始說法的時候牠還沒到,牠就會在阿姜曼靜坐入定之後才來。地居與空居天神偶爾也會來聽法,卻不像在烏隆府及廊開府時那麼頻繁。他們總是會特別在雨安居的三個最神聖的節日來訪 —— 第一天、中間日、以及最後一天。不管阿姜曼住在哪裡,不論是住在城鎮或鄉村,諸天總是會來聽他說法,這都是他住在Wat Chedi Luang寺院時於清邁城市的真實經歷。

 

      

Having written about the devas, I shall now write about the human visitors who came to see Ãcariya Mun. Being human, I am also included in this matter; but I still wish to apologize to the reader if there is anything unappealing or inappropriate in what follows. In some ways I have an incurably roguish character, as you will no doubt notice. However, I feel it necessary to record truthfully what Ãcariya Mun told his disciples privately. I ask for your forgiveness, but I include this so that you may compare humans and devas and learn something from it.

Ãcariya Mun said there was a great difference between humans and devas in the way they communicated with him and listened to his discourses on Dhamma. Devas of every realm, from the highest to the lowest, are able to comprehend the meaning in a discussion of Dhamma much more easily than their human counterparts. And when the discussion is over, their exclamations of approval – “sãdhu, sãdhu, sãdhu” – echo throughout the spiritual universe. Devas of every realm have enormous respect for monks; not one of them shows any sign of impropriety. When coming to listen to a monk discourse on Dhamma, their comportment is always calm, orderly, and exquisitely graceful. Human beings, on the other hand, never really understand the meaning of a Dhamma discourse – even after repeated explanations. Not only do they fail to grasp the meaning, but some are even critical of the speaker, thinking: What is he talking about? I can’t understand a thing. He’s not as good as that other monk. Some who themselves have previously ordained as monks cannot keep their gross kilesas from surfacing, boasting: When I was ordained I could give a much better talk than this. I made those listening laugh a lot so they didn’t get tired and sleepy. I had a special rapport with the audience which kept them howling with laughter. Still others think: It’s rumored that this monk knows the thoughts of others. So whatever we think, he knows immediately. Why, then, doesn’t he know what I’m thinking right now? If he knows, he should give some sign – at least indirectly, by saying that this or that person shouldn’t think in such and such a way because it’s wrong. Then we would know if he deserves his reputation. Some people come ready to find fault so they can show off their own cleverness. These types are not interested in Dhamma at all. Expounding Dhamma in their presence is like pouring water on a dog’s back – they immediately shake it all off, leaving not a drop behind.

Ãcariya Mun would often laugh when talking about this type of person, probably because he was amused by his occasional encounters with such ‘clever’ people. He said that some people who came to see him were so opinionated they could barely walk, the burden of their conceit being much heavier than that which an ordinary mortal could carry. Their conceit was so enormous that he was more inclined to feel trepidation than pity for them, which made him disinclined to talk to them about Dhamma. Still, there were certain social situations where this was unavoidable, so he struggled to say something. But as he was about to speak, the Dhamma seemed to vanish and he could think of nothing to say. It was as if Dhamma could not compete with such overbearing conceit – and so, it fled. All that remained was his body, sitting like a lifeless doll, being stuck with pins, and ignored by everyone as though he had no feelings. At such times, no Dhamma arose for discourse, and he simply sat like a tree stump. In cases like that, where would the Dhamma come from?

Ãcariya Mun used to laugh as he described those situations to his disciples, but there were some in his audience who actually trembled. Since they weren’t feverish and the weather wasn’t cold, we can only assume that they were shuddering from feelings of trepidation. Ãcariya Mun said that he would not teach very conceited individuals unless absolutely necessary because his discourse could actually turn into something toxic for the heart of someone who listened without any feeling of respect. The Dhamma that Ãcariya Mun possessed was truly of the highest order and of enormous value to those who established their hearts in the principle of goodwill, not considering themselves superior to Dhamma in any way. This is a very important point to keep in mind. Every effect has its cause. When many people sit together listening to a Dhamma talk, there will be some who feel so uncomfortably hot they almost melt and there will be others who are so cool they feel as if they are floating in the air. The difference, the cause, is right there in the heart. Everything else is inconsequential. There was simply no way he could help lighten the burden of someone whose heart refused to accept Dhamma. One might think that if teaching them doesn’t actually do any good, it also would not do any harm. But that’s not really the case, for such people will always persist in doing things which have harmful repercussions – regardless of what anyone says. So it’s not easy to teach human beings. Even with a small group of people, invariably there were just enough noxious characters among them to be a nuisance. But rather than feel annoyed like most people, Ãcariya Mun would simply drop the matter and leave them to their fate. When no way could be found to help reform such people, Ãcariya Mun regarded it simply as the nature of their kamma.

There were those who came to him with the virtuous intention of searching for Dhamma, trusting in the good consequences of their actions – and these he greatly sympathized with – though they were far and few between. However, those who were not looking for anything useful and had no restraint were legion, so Ãcariya Mun preferred to live in the forests and mountains where the environment was pleasant and his heart was at ease. In those places he could practice to the limit without being concerned with external disturbances. Wherever he cast his glance, whatever he thought about, Dhamma was involved, bringing a clear sense of relief. Watching the forest animals, such as monkeys, languars, and gibbons, swinging and playing through the trees and listening to them call to one another across the forest gave rise to a pleasant inner peacefulness. He need not be concerned with their attitude toward him as they ran about in search of food. In this deep solitude, he felt refreshed and cheerful in every aspect of his life. Had he died then, he would have been perfectly comfortable and contented. This is dying the truly natural way: having come alone, he would depart alone. Invariably all the Arahants pass into Nibbãna in this way, as their hearts do not retain any confusion or agitation. They have only the one body, the one citta, and a single focus of attention. They don’t rush out looking for dukkha and they don’t accumulate emotional attachments to weigh them down. They live as Noble Ones and they depart as Noble Ones. They never get entangled with things that cause anxiety and sorrow in the present. Being spotlessly pure, they maintain a detachment from all emotional objects. Which stands in sharp contrast to the way people act in the world: the heavier their heart’s burden, the more they add and increase their load. As for Noble Ones, the lighter their load, the more they relinquish, until there’s nothing left to unload. They then dwell in that emptiness, even though the heart that knows that emptiness remains – there is simply no more loading and unloading to be done. This is known as attaining the status of someone who is ‘out of work’, meaning that the heart has no more work left to do in the sãsana. Being ‘out of work’ in this way is actually the highest form of happiness. This is quite different from worldly affairs, where unemployment for someone with no means of making a living signifies increased misery.

Ãcariya Mun related many differences between devas and humans, but I’ve recorded here only those which I remember and those which I think would benefit the discerning reader. Perhaps these asides, such as the deva episodes, should all be presented together in one section according to the subject matter. But Ãcariya Mun’s encounters with such phenomena stretched over a long period of time and I feel it necessary to follow his life story as sequentially as possible. There will be more accounts about devas later; but I dare not combine the different episodes because the object is to have the parallel threads of the story converge at the same point. I ask forgiveness if the reader suffers any inconvenience.

What Ãcariya Mun said about devas and humans refers to these groups as they existed many years before, since Ãcariya Mun, whose reflections are recorded here, died over 20 years ago. The devas and humans of that age have most probably changed following the universal law of impermanence. There remains only the ‘modern’ generation who have probably received some mental training and improved their conduct accordingly. As for the contentious people whom Ãcariya Mun encountered in his life, probably such people no longer exist to clutter up the nation and the religion. Since then, there has been so much improvement in the education system; and well-educated people aren’t likely to harbor such vulgar ambitions. This affords people today some relief.

AFTER LIVING AND TEACHING the monks and the local population in the Udon Thani and Nong Khai areas for a considerable time, Ãcariya Mun moved eastward to the province of Sakon Nakhon. He traveled through the small villages in the forests and mountains of the Warichabhum, Phang Khon, Sawang Dan Din, Wanon Niwat, and Akat Amnuay districts. He then wandered to Nakhon Phanom through the district of Sri Songkhram, passing through the villages of Ban Sam Phong, Ban Non Daeng, Ban Dong Noi, and Ban Kham Nokkok. All these places were deep in the wilderness and infested with malaria, which, when caught, was very difficult to cure: a person could be infected the better part of a year and still not fully recover. Assuming one did not die, living through it was still a torment. As I’ve already mentioned, malaria was called ‘the fever the in-laws despise’, because those who suffered chronically from this illness were still able to walk around and eat, but unable to do any work. Some became permanent invalids. The villagers in that area, as well as the monks and novices who lived in the same forests, were frequently victims of malaria. Some even died from it. For three years Ãcariya Mun spent successive rains retreats in the area around Ban Sam Phong village. During that time quite a few monks died of the illness. Generally, those monks were from cultivated areas where there was little malaria – such as the provinces of Ubon, Roy Et, and Sarakham – so they were not used to the forests and mountains. They could not live easily in those forests with Ãcariya Mun because they couldn’t tolerate the malaria. They had to leave during the rainy season, spending their retreat near villages that were surrounded by fields.

Ãcariya Mun recounted that when he gave evening Dhamma talks to the monks and novices near the village of Sam Phong, a nãga from the Songkhran River came to listen almost every time. If he failed to arrive at the hour when the discourse took place, he would come later when Ãcariya Mun sat in samãdhi. The devas from the upper and lower realms came only periodically, and not as often as they did when he stayed in the provinces of Udon Thani or Nong Khai. They were always particular about coming on the three holiest observance days of the rains retreat– the first, the middle and the last day. No matter where Ãcariya Mun lived, whether in towns or cities, the devas always came from one realm or another to hear his Dhamma. This was true in the city of Chiang Mai while he was staying at Wat Chedi Luang monastery.