阿 姜 曼 正 傳 

 

第一章第二節:預   兆

                        

            

第一章第二節:預 兆

        當阿姜曼在阿姜索的道場開始修毘婆舍那時,他不斷地修行,心裡重複默唸「buddho(佛陀)」這個字,對佛陀的憶念,是一種憶念佛陀的業處,在所有的禪修前行中,他最喜歡這種修行方法。一開始,他無法體驗到他所期待的那種平靜與喜樂的層次,以致於讓他一度懷疑自己的修行方法是否正確。儘管他有懷疑,他沒有停止持續複誦「buddho」,而終於他的心發展到某種特定的定境。

        某一天夜裡,他做了一個夢:

        他夢到走出村裡,進入一個廣大又茂密的森林裡,林中到處充滿著盤根錯節的樹叢。他很難找到穿越森林的路,他奮力的尋找出路,終於在另一頭安全地出現。當他走出來以後,發現自己是站在一望無盡的原野邊際,他毅然決然開始穿越這片曠野。他一直沿著路走著,直到他的面前出現了一大截傾倒的柚木。

        很久以前,樹幹的部分早已嵌入地底,大部分的樹皮及邊材都已腐爛了。他爬上這棵大柚木,並沿著它的軀幹走直到另一端;當他走著時,內在思惟著,他明白這棵樹不會再發芽及生長了。他把自己的此生看作是這棵已永不再發芽的柚木,他確認這棵已死掉的柚木就是生死輪迴saṁsāra中自己的生命,看到這棵已腐爛的樹,不會再發芽及生長,他深信,只要持之以恆地修下去,他一定會在今生就找到一條達到特定結局的路,而這片廣漠無垠的原野,就象徵著永不止息生死輪迴的本質。

        當他站在樹幹旁沈思這件事的時候,一匹高大的白馬迎面跑來並停在這棵倒塌的柚木旁。阿姜曼突然有一股衝動想騎上去,於是,他騎上這匹神秘的馬,接著,牠全力馳騁。他不知道這匹馬要戴他去哪裡,也不明白為什麼,牠只是漫無目的或方向地加速急馳。牠橫跨這片原野的距離大到似乎難以計算。當他們向前奔馳,阿姜曼看到遠處有一箱外觀非常的華麗精緻、有精美的銀邊鑲飾的巴利經文書箱。這匹馬在沒有駕馭的引導下,直接載著他到這個被封印住的書箱,並在書箱前停了下來。阿姜曼下馬想要開啟書箱,白馬便忽然消失無踪。當他走向書箱前,他注意到這個書箱就位在這片原野的盡頭,書箱的背景只有稠密的叢林,盤根錯節的灌木叢覆蓋住土地,他知道沒有辦法穿越。當他走向書箱,伸手翻開箱子;但,就在他想要一窺箱中物之前,便醒了過來。

        這個夢是一種禪相nimitta,一種信心saddhā確認的預兆,也就是如果他精進努力,那麼他無疑會找到他想要尋找的路。從那時起,因為重新的決意,阿姜曼更密集地禪修,當他從事日常事務時,都努力不鬆懈地持續複誦著「buddho」。同時,從他出家開始,他一直認真奉行嚴謹的頭陀行,直到他圓寂。他所自願奉行的頭陀行,包括:

一、只穿著被人丟棄的布料所縫製的袈裟,不接受由在家居士直接供養的袈裟。

二、除非他決定當日斷食,否則每日常行乞食。

三、只吃托缽時放入缽內的食物,當托完缽以後,便不再接受後來的供養。

四、一日一食,且過午不食。

五、只用缽進食,不用其他容器。

六、住在森林裡。在林中他可自由的穿梭,生活並睡臥在曠野、深山或山谷中,有時也可能住在大樹底下受其遮覆或在山洞石窟中或於懸崖峭壁之上。

七、他身無長物,隨身的僧袍只有三件,分別是大衣、上衣、及下衣,總稱之為「三衣」[1],額外還附帶一條現今一般人洗澡時必備的浴巾。

        如果在環境許可的情況下,阿姜曼也會奉行十三種頭陀行的其他幾支頭陀行;但,他堅持規律奉行的上述七種頭陀行,都已成為他人格特質的一部分,現今已經很難找到能與他相提並論的修行人了。

        他所做的一切,都是出於自願,並熱忱地尋找真理,對於他的義務他絕不會敷衍了事。他不斷地朝向出世的目標而努力。他真誠的目標,一直以來,都是為了滅苦。他所做的每一件事都是為了直接摧毀內心的煩惱所付出的高尚努力。由於這個目標的意義,儘管每個人都受到相同垢染的影響,他卻絕不容許心中有任何可以容納驕慢與自大的死角。他有一個很明顯不同於一般凡夫的地方:就是不讓心靈受制於無明(avijjā)煩惱的蹂躪,他總是奮戰,在每一次的機會中發動攻擊。

        後來,當他覺得有自信在修行上已發展成堅實的基礎後,他回頭去審視那個有關禪相的夢境,他去解析它,直到漸漸瞭解它整體的涵義。他發現出家當比丘並適當地修行,等同是把心提升到免於世俗毒害的層次。夢境中危機四伏的稠密、纏繞的叢林,就好比我們的心,一個痛苦及憂傷的儲藏室。心應被提升到至寬、至廣 —— 一種終極幸福、免於恐懼及擔憂執著之境。

        而那匹高大的白色種馬則象徵著修行的道路,他騎上馬就象徵抵達圓滿之境的工具,遇到了精美設計過的巴利經文書箱。但由於他不具有能開啟書箱並盡情欣賞裡面藏書的必備波羅蜜 —— 一種只有具備四無礙智的聖人才有的功德。一個已具備四無礙智的人,他閃耀的智慧及其教學上的全面性知識,如汪洋大海及穹蒼般的深廣,他將名揚三界,像這樣的人在教導諸神及人類時絕不會不知所措。

        因為阿姜曼缺少足夠的波羅蜜,所以他被剝奪了開啟書箱的機會,只能欣賞它美麗的外觀。因此,他只有證得「基本教誡無礙解智」的層次,意思是他具有向他人開示佛教基本修行之道的足夠智慧及解說的技巧,但整體上卻不夠深與廣。雖然阿姜曼很謙虛地表示他的教導只能指出方向,但在他的一生中那些體驗過並聽聞過他教導的人們都表示極為刻骨銘心,且難以言喻。當然在今天這個時代,很難再體驗及聽聞能與之相提並論的教導了 —— 一個急需如此高尚之人的時代。


 

[1] 大衣為正裝衣,上街托缽時,或奉召入王宮時所穿之衣,梵語稱「僧伽梨Saṁghāti」;上衣為入眾衣,為禮拜、聽講、布薩時所穿用,梵語稱「鬱多羅僧Uttarāsaṅga」;下衣為作務衣,為日常工作時或就寢時所穿著之貼身衣,梵語稱「安陀會antarvāsa」。

     

     

When Ãcariya Mun first began practicing vipassanã at Ãcariya Sao’s center, he meditated constantly, internally repeating the word “buddho”, the recollection of the Buddha, as he preferred this preparatory Dhamma theme above all others. In the beginning, he failed to experience the degree of calm and happiness that he expected, which caused him to doubt whether he was practicing correctly. Despite his doubt he didn’t flag in his persistent use of the word “buddho”, and eventually his heart developed a certain measure of calm.

One night he had a dream:

He walked out of a village and entered a large, dense jungle overgrown with tangled undergrowth. He could hardly find a way to penetrate it. He struggled to find his way through this vast thicket until he finally emerged safe at the other end. When he came out, he found himself at the edge of an immense field that stretched as far as the eye could see. He set out resolutely, walking across this field until he happened to come across a huge fallen jãti tree.

Felled long ago, its trunk was partially embedded in the ground, and most of its bark and sapwood had already rotted away. He climbed upon this giant jãti log and walked along its full length. As he walked, he reflected inwardly. He realized that this tree would never sprout and grow again. He compared this with his own life which would certainly not rise again in any future existence. He identified the dead jãti tree with his own life in saÿsãra. Seeing that the tree had rotted away, never to root and spring to life again, he reckoned that, by keeping up his diligent practice, he would surely find a way to reach a definite conclusion to his own life in this very existence. The vast expanse of open field symbolized the nature of the never-ending cycle of birth and death.

As he stood on the log contemplating this, a broad white stallion trotted up and stood next to the fallen jãti tree. As it stood there, Ãcariya Mun felt an urge to ride it. So, he mounted the mysterious horse which immediately raced off at full gallop. He had no idea where he was being taken or why. The horse just continued galloping at full speed without showing any obvious sign of direction or purpose. The distance it traveled across the vast field seemed immeasurable. As they strode along, Ãcariya Mun saw a beautiful Tipiåika cabinet in the distance, adorned with exquisite silver trim. Without guidance, the horse led him directly to the enclosed bookcase, and came to a halt right in front of it. The moment Ãcariya Mun dismounted with the aim of opening the cabinet, the white stallion vanished without a trace. As he stepped towards the bookcase, he noticed that it was standing at the very edge of the field with nothing in the background but more of the dense jungle, entangled and smothered with undergrowth. He saw no way of penetrating it. When he came to the Tipiåika cabinet, he reached out to open it; but, before he had a chance to discover the contents inside, he woke up.

This was a dream nimitta, an omen confirming his belief that if he persevered in his efforts, he would undoubtedly discover a path for attaining what he sought. From then on, with renewed determination Ãcariya Mun meditated intensively, unrelenting in his efforts to constantly repeat “buddho” as he conducted all his daily affairs. At the same time, he very carefully observed the austere dhutanga practices which he undertook at the time of his ordination, and continued to practice for the rest of his life.7 The dhutangas he voluntarily undertook were: wearing only robes made from discarded cloth – not accepting robes directly offered by lay supporters; going on almsround every day without fail – except those days when he decided to fast; accepting and eating only food received in his alms bowl – never receiving food offered after his almsround; eating only one meal a day – never eating food after the one meal; eating only out of the alms bowl – never eating food that is not inside the one vessel; living in the forest – which means wandering through forested terrain, living and sleeping in the wilds, in the mountains or in the valleys; some time spent living under a canopy of trees, in a cave, or under an overhanging cliff; and wearing only his three principal robes – the outer robe, the upper robe, and the lower robe, 8  with the addition of a bathing cloth which is necessary to have nowadays.

Ãcariya Mun also observed the remainder of the thirteen dhutanga practices when circumstances were convenient; but, he upheld the above seven routinely until they became integrated into his character. They became so much a part of him that it would be difficult to find one who is his equal these days.

On his own accord, he showed earnestness in finding meaning in everything he did. He never approached his duties half-heartedly. His sincere aim, always, was to transcend the world. Everything he did was directed toward the noble effort of destroying the kilesas  within himself. Due to this sense of purpose, he allowed no hiding room in his heart for arrogance and conceit, despite being exposed to the same defiling influences as was everyone else. In one respect he differed markedly from the average person: instead of allowing his mind free reign for the kilesas to trample all over, he always put up a fight, attacking them at every opportunity.

Later, when he felt confident that he had developed a sufficiently solid foundation in his meditation, he investigated the dream nimitta. Turning his attention to the dream, he analyzed it until he gradually comprehended its full meaning. He saw that ordaining as a monk and practicing the Dhamma properly was equivalent to raising the level of the citta beyond the poisons of the world. The dense, entangled jungle, where dangers of every kind await to ambush, was the analogy for the citta, a repository of pain and misery. The citta must be lifted until it reaches the vast, wide open expanse – a sphere of Ultimate Happiness, and freedom from all fear and concern.

The majestic white stallion symbolized the path of practicing Dhamma. He rode the horse as the means of transport to the realm of complete contentment, where he encountered the beautiful Tipiåika cabinet with an exquisite design. Able only to look upon it, he lacked the spiritual perfection necessary to secure the cabinet’s opening and admire its library to his heart’s content – a feat accomplished only by one who has acquired catu paåisam-bhidãñãõa. A person endowed with this four-fold knowledge is renown throughout the three worlds for his brilliant wisdom and his comprehensive knowledge of teaching methods, extensive as the sea and sky. Such a one is never at a loss when teaching devas and humans.

Because Ãcariya Mun lacked a sufficiently high level of spiritual perfection, he was denied the opportunity to open the cabinet, and had to be content with simply admiring its beauty. Consequently, he would attain only the level of paåisambhidãnusãsana, meaning that he had sufficient wisdom and expository skills to elucidate to others the basic path of Buddhist practice, but not its entire breadth and depth. Although he humbly stated that his teaching was merely sufficient to show the way, those who witnessed his practice and heard the profound Dhamma that he taught throughout his life were so deeply impressed that no words can describe it. It would certainly be difficult to witness or hear anything comparable in this day and age – an age much in need of such a noble person.