Q&A Gallery

A collection of questions and answers with Sayalay Susila mostly from Q&A sessions held during meditation retreats and Dhamma talks.

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Question:   As stream-enterer does not regard five aggregates as myself, why then he still has conceit?

Answer:     A stream-enterer has eradicated identity view regarding the five aggregates. This means he does not regard any of the five aggregates as "myself." However he still has the notion of "I am" because the latent defilement of conceit has not yet been eradicated. Identity view regards any of the five aggregates as "myself", conceit regards any of the five aggregates as "I am."

(One who has eradicated the five aggregates as "mine" has eradicated craving : carving for sensual pleasure, craving for fine material existence and craving for immaterial existence. An anagami, having eradicated craving for sensual pleasure, will not return to be reborn in the sensual planes. As such, an anagami is also called a non-returner. However, an anagami is still subjected to rebirth in a pure abode.

Identity view that regards any of the five aggregates as "myself", holds the view that there is a permanent self or soul that transmigrates from one life to another.)

See also: 20 False Views about Self,  AN10:13 Sanyojana Sutta: Fetters, The Four Stages of Enlightenment, The 10 Fetters31 Planes of Existence, AN7:15 Udakupama Sutta: The Water Simile,

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Question: How do i understand and practice "Gotami Sutta"? Please kindly teach me how to understand "Gotami Sutta" and put it into practice.


The Buddha said:

"Gotami, the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to passion, not to dispassion; to being fettered, not to being unfettered; to accumulating, not to shedding; to self-aggrandizement, not to modesty; to discontent, not to contentment; to entanglement, not to seclusion; to laziness, not to aroused persistence; to being burdensome, not to being unburdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is not the Dhamma, this is not the Vinaya, this is not the Teacher's instruction.'

"As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.'"

Q: What leads to passion?
A: Ignorance, not seeing the fault of passion.

 

Q: It seems to me that everything in the world leads to passion. 
A: It is true, all mundane things lead to passion.

 

Q: In my previous work in Nuskin, we promote health and beauty. Going after health and beauty is also passion right? 
A: Going after beauty is definitely a passion. One of the queens was intoxicated by her beauty, after death was reborn as a worm in the cow dung.

 

Q: It seems to me that the way of the world and the way of the Dhamma is totally opposite. 
A: Yes, you are right. THE WAY OF DHAMMA IS GOING AGAINST THE STREAM, BUT THE WAY OF WORLD IS FOLLOWING THE STREAM WHICH IS VERY EASY AND MAKES ONE MORE PASSIONATE.

 

Q: Is this advice only applicable to renunciants ? 
A: Yes, but it is also applicable to lay persons although it is difficult. 

 

Q: If not, how should a lay person who still has worldly duties to fulfill, practice according to these principles?
A: IF A LAY PERSON CAN EXPERIENCE THE INSIGHT OF ARISING AND PASSING AWAY, HIS MIND BECOMES DISPASSIONATE, NOT PASSIONATE; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating.

 

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INTERVIEW with Non-Duality Magazine on Sensual Desires, Celibacy, Jhana & Nibbana.

http://www.nondualitymagazine.org

NDM: How important is the practice of celibacy for jhana to arise?

Venerable Sayalay Susila: The meanings of jhana is to burn up the five hindrances of sense desires, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restless and remorse, and doubt. Indulging in sexual intercourse is the hindrance of sense desires. Without getting rid of this hindrance during the practice of concentration, the attainment of jhana is difficult. This is the reason why in Asia, when yogis come for concentration retreat, they are requested to observe eight precepts, including celibacy.

But this does not mean that one has to be celibate throughout one's lives if one wishes to attain jhana. Those who have attained jhana, later may not choose to practice celibacy.


NDM: How helpful is jhana in overcoming the fetters of sense desires?

Venerable Sayalay Susila: The Pali word Jhana has two meanings1. To contemplate closely, 2. to burn up the five hindrances. When the mind is closely contemplating on the object, for example, the breath, sense desires cannot entice the mind. Only when the mind lets loose the object, the sense desires gain the power to obsess the mind. In this sense, jhana directly overcomes the hindrance of sense desires. We usually categorize sense desires(kamacchanda) under hindrances (nivarana).

When the five hindrances are burnt up through attainment of jhana, the mind becomes extremely clear, happy, calm and radiant. The Buddha said the happiness of third jhana surpasses all mundane happiness. The mind of the yogis will incline more to jhana happiness rather than sensual happiness which is full of faults.

With the help of concentration, wisdom is developed to see things as they really are as impermanence, suffering and non-self. With repeated seeing of these three characteristics, the desire for sense pleasure will be lessened.

When the wisdom is developed into the third path of enlightenmentnon-returner, it permanently uproots the fetter of sensual lust (kamaraga). As a result, a non-returner will not return to this sensuous world.

In overcoming the fetter of sense desires, jhana temporarily suppresses it, but to completely uproot the fetters, we need the third noble path consciousness. This is to be achieved through insight meditation.


NDM: Is it possible to attain third and fourth path enlightenment and not be celibate?

Venerable Sayalay Susila: It is possible not to be celibate and attain third path. But once a practitioner attains the third path enlightenment--non-returner, the path consciousness of non- returner cuts off the sensual lust permanently. Then this person no longer has desire to have sexual intercourse with anyone. Therefore this person will be celibate forever. Then he moves on to attain fourth path enlightenment. This also means it is not possible to attain fourth path enlightenment and not be celibate.


NDM: Just to be clear, if someone is indulging in sense pleasures, they can’t be no more than second path, sakadagami, is this correct?

Venerable Sayalay Susila: Correct, Sakadagami still has sensual lust, but a non-returener has no sensual lust. 

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Question:   When the light (nimitta) is so bright that it strikes my eyes so strongly, what do i do?

Answer:     Reduce your effort slightly and the light will become softer, it will become not so striking.

See also: Upakkilesa Sutta: MN 128

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问答环节2015

 

1、请问尼师,身边有懒惰而不诚实的人,且还是朋友,我是该用慈爱包容还是按佛陀说的远离愚痴?

 

答:我建议远离他,除非你的心力量足够强大,能用慈爱去包容他,不然的话,还是远离的好。和懒惰而不诚实的人交友的隐忧是不但会给你带困扰,恐怕我们的心也会受污染,所谓近墨者黑也大致如此吧。

 

2、最近我发现学法的人身上的问题一点也不比没学法的少,反而更多。用学法来逃避已经存在的自身问题(特指某个以前认为学法学得好的人),这不就是愚痴吗?我迷惑了,还是自己的慈心太少?

 

答:修行是照顾自己的心,不是照顾别人的心。我们有时确实需要观外心,但是别人的行为应成为我们的借镜,同时,我们也应该对他有悲悯之心,因为他的心暂时被无明给遮蔽了。 如此般思维,我们才能在法上成长。

 

3 师父您好!我在打坐时发现心生起的念头就如佛陀在《法句经》中说:“此心随欲转,微妙极难见” 。这微妙我见到了,忽然间对自己的心感到很害怕,不管生起的念头是善或不善的,就是很害怕,我赶紧念佛好安抚這心,请问师父我是否修错了?

答:一般上,看到心生起恶念会感到害怕是好的现象,但是看到心生起善念则应该感到高兴,并且要增长它,而不是感到害怕。我想你感到害怕是因为你看到了心念的迅速生灭,而且你体会到了这个生灭过程完全不能为自己所控制。所以你会感觉到无助,感觉到害怕,这是一种正常反应。因此你也会进一步理解,因为没有一个“我”,所以也没有办法控制生灭的过程。这其实是如实知见,观智的一种。
 你当下应该以第三者的角度去看着这个恐惧的心,如如不动。恐惧的心也是暂时的,是因缘生法。你若把害怕当做是真的、永恒的、我的,那你又卷入颠倒想之中。所以你要把观照的心和心观照的对象(害怕,这是一种心的现象)区分开来,把它当做是一种因缘生法,这样你就会再次提升你的观智。

 

4问:人性很丑陋,多数时候我对众生升起的是厌恶的心,请问我应该如何培养慈爱心呢?

 

答:不是所有的人性都是丑陋的。在第二次世界大战的时候,希特勒挑起德国人对犹太人的种族仇恨,杀了很多犹太人,但是也有个德国人叫辛德勒,他冒着生命的危险救了一千多个犹太人,挑战了希特勒的恶法,所以并不是说人性肯定是丑陋的。我们只能说人有善的一面也有恶的一面,善恶也是因缘法,是随着因缘而改变的。如果你一直固执地认为人性很丑陋,很自然就会对众生生起厌恶心,所以你要调整一下自己偏激的心态。即使人性真的如你想象的那么丑陋,那你能做的,也只能是做好自己,让自己成为一个善良的人,我认为这是比较积极的想法。

若你认为人性很丑陋,你应该对他们培育悲心,要可怜他们,对他们慈悲。因为众生无明,导致造下很多恶业,污染了心,所以这时对他们产生悲心比慈心更加有效。而且你不要视众生为“自我”或“一个人”,你应该透视众生只是假象,在究竟谛里,没有众生相、我相、人相,存在的只是无明、爱欲、烦恼、嗔恨......,这些都是心所。这些心所只是透过我们这个人呈现出来而已。要去掉对众生的厌恶,我们更应该看到导致他们丑陋的驱动力是什么?就是无明!十二因缘里如是说:无明缘行,行缘识,识缘名色,名色缘六入,六入缘触,触缘受,受缘爱,爱缘取,取缘有,有缘生,生缘老死忧悲苦恼,如此生起整堆的苦蕴。众生的丑陋和痛苦都是因无明而起的。如果你能理解这一点,我相信你不但可以去掉对众生的厌恶心,反而可以升起对众生的悲心。

 

5问:打坐如何防止“走火入魔”?

 

答:这个问题是经常被问到的,首先什么是“走火入魔”?失去自己,精神错乱,被外面的魔控制住叫“走火入魔”。

    有几种“走火入魔”的情况,第一种状况:在打坐的时候,尤其是心智比较弱的人,有时候外面的邪魔会跟他相应,心智强的人这种情况一般不会发生。怎么相应呢?它会以声音的方式来跟我们沟通,如果我们心智很弱又没有正念觉知心中发生的事情,我们就会开始跟它沟通了。所以为了防止我们走火入魔,禅修时绝对不可以听外在的声音,不管外在的声音有多美好,你一定不要跟它沟通。总之禅修时你的正念要很强,正念强的人绝对不会走火入魔。因为一个巴掌是打不响的,你不跟它沟通就安全了。

第二种状况是有的人可能从小受到家庭的压迫,从小内心有很多家庭的纠结,活得很不快乐,所以当他静下来的时候,内心会有很多苦闷的声音。那个声音会不停地告诉他:你活得这么不快乐,活着有什么意思呢?倒不如去自杀。因为从小就被压迫,活着本来就没有意思,所以想要了结自己生命的这个声音就会在他静下来的时候一直涌现出来,他可能还不知道这个是他自己发出来的声音,以为是别人的。一旦信以为真,你就真的会去自杀了。这也可以算是走火入魔的一种,但这个魔是自己的心魔,第一个是外魔。

还有一种是假的“走火入魔”,是大冤枉。我在美国指导禅修時,有一个美国女学员写了一封很长的信给我,说她打坐的时候观第三眼(印堂),第三眼会发出光,全身会非常明亮,走路時身体轻飘飘的,心中很高兴很喜悦,没有想要吃东西也睡不着觉。(当定力很好的时候,精神特好,是睡不着的,睡眠时间会越来越少。)她体验到一种无我的境界,开始有点害怕了。这些本来都是好的现象,但可能是她的福报不够好,没有遇到善知识,没人给她任何指导。她不知道该怎么处理,于是四处询问那些没有很好禅修经验的人。第一个人就对她说:你神经病!怎么可能没有“我”呢?问第二个人,第三个人,第四个人都是同样的答案。(她如果当时问我的话,我肯定会说:很好,继续!)假如你问了十个人,十个人都说你神经病,你是不是也会开始怀疑自己了?所以她最后真的认为自己神经不正常了,马上住进精神病院,开始服用精神病药。从精神病院出来之后,她觉得自己的“无我”经验,要在美国这种很注重自我的国家生存下去,肯定格格不入。要生存下去,就要回归自我,于是她开始喝酒、吸毒、滥交、抽烟等,坏事做尽。二十年后,她遇见当地一个斯里兰卡的禅师,并把之前的体验告诉了禅师,禅师告诉她“定”的体验就如她这个经验般。可惜这个答案来得太迟了,二十年过去了,因为没有节制地放逸的时间太长,要重新培育定不是那么容易的事情。所以这原本不是走火入魔却被当成了走火入魔,真是莫大的冤枉。

 

所以在这里我要给你们一些劝告:

第一、如果你有什么特殊的禅修体验不要随便与别人说,避免他人给你错误的判断和指引。你应该去寻找明师来解决你的问题。本地找不到明师,也要出国去找,如果你真的很想在心灵上求进步的话。在佛陀时代便是如此,虔诚者听到明师——佛陀出世,不辞劳苦千里迢迢步行三四个月去寻找佛陀,更何况现在交通发达还有了飞机。

第二、如果你自己的禅修经验不够丰富,不要随便给人下判断,更不要说别人神经不正常,或说别人的体验是假的,是他自己幻想出来的。如果不在自己认知的范围里,最好什么也不要说。只告诉对方自己没有这样的体验,建议他另找明师。这是为了保护自己造业也保护别人。

为了避免走火入魔,你要跟随资深的老师学习。如果心中有特殊的体验,一定要说出来,我相信任何一位有丰富禅修经验的老师都会助你一把。

 

6问:法师您好,您说我们过去世都是修行人,修行是为了脱离生死轮回,而我过去世既是修行人,现在世还在修行,是说明过去世的我道行还不够,所以今生还得重来是吗?那么我们现在的修行又是为了什么呢?

 

答:肯定是!我们全部都是道行不够,所以今世还在此碰面,如果道行够早就解脱了。(笑)我们前世修行時不够用功,或者修到一半被异性勾引去,或者中途对修行感到厌倦,又或者因为某某障碍导致不能前进。修行的道路充满荆棘,并不是那么顺利的。但是今天大家能够来到这里禅修,就证明大家对法还是有热情的,还相信法能帮助我们解脱生死。只是,走这条道路的人很多,但是能真正走完整条道路的人却是很少。包括我自己也一样,如果我走完整条道路,早已解脱生死,这世也不会在这里跟你们讲经说法了。我们现在的修行就是为了解脱生死,是为了继续走完还未走完的路,继续做完上一世还未完成的功课。

 

7问:了脱轮回,继续功课,体验人生,请问现在我们修行又是为了了脱轮回,还是继续功课,还是继续体验人生?

 

答:我觉得都有。了脱生死是最后的目的,但在还没有达到最后目的之前,我们的功课一定要继续做,做功课時也就是在体验人生。体验什么样的人生呢?体验无常、苦、无我的人生。你不体验人生或禅修中的无常、苦、无我,想要解脱的心肯定是不会强的。大家都想要解脱,可是真的要解脱,就要付出相等的精进力。没有勇猛的精进力意味着我们要解脱的心不够强。为什么?因为我们对无常、苦、无我的体验不够深,对生命还没有产生厌离感,还想继续再出生,所以这条解脱的道路变得非常的漫长。

 

8问:禅坐中有很多妄念,如深层的自卑情绪浮现影响修行,应该如何对治?

 

答:这个就要懂得观心了,观心是四念处的其中一个法门(心念处)。如果你觉得情绪浮现,你可以暂时放下目前的所缘来观照你的情绪。“自卑”,“自卑”是什么东西?“自卑”是自己制造出来的情绪,它并不是真实的,只是你信以为真,于是给自己贴了一个标签:“我很自卑”,接下来你会发现自己很难从这个贴了标签的陷阱中逃出来。其实,一切心都是虚妄的,不管什么情绪升起,恐惧也好、自卑也好、傲慢也好、比较也好,我们若不会观心,也就没有正念,就不知道这些情绪是刹那生、刹那灭的。此時,自卑情绪它就会得逞,它会在我们心中停留很久,当它停留得越久就越有力量,直到你以为它是“真实的”,并视它为“这是我的,这是我,这是我的自我”,这时,你已经很难放下它了。

    我们容易对身体产生厌离,身体经常这里痛那里老化,我们会突然间会很讨厌这个身体。但是,我们却很难对心产生厌离,佛陀在《相应部》里也有说过:“比库们!未受教导的一般人或能在这四大之身上厌离、离染、解脱,那是什么原因呢? 比库们!因为这四大之身的成长与衰老;拿起与舍弃被看得见,因此,未受教导的一般人或能厌离、离染、解脱。然而,比库们!对那被这样称为心、意、识的,未受教导的一般人不能厌离、离染、解脱,那是什么原因呢?比库们!因为长久以来,他们执取心为‘这是我的,这是我,这是我的自我’, 因此,在那里,未受教导的一般人不能厌离、离染、解脱。”

所以当你的自卑情绪生起的时候,要以第三者的眼光去看它,提起正念让你与情绪分离、隔开,不要把它看作是“我的”。如果你把这个自卑看作是“我的”、“我的”、“我的”,你肯定会越来越自卑。以一个中立的态度去看它时就会不为所动,试试看吧!

 

9问:对别人可以散播慈心对自己却生不起来该怎么办呢?

 

答:那没有关系,就先对别人散播慈心吧!对别人散播慈心直到有喜悦有定力,因为散播慈心给自己是证不到禅定的,只有散播慈心给别人才能证到禅定。所以对别人可以散播慈心是对的,因为它可以帮助你证入禅定。偶尔回来对自己散播慈心也是可以的,这都没有关系。

 

10问:坐禅时应该睁眼睛还是闭上眼睛?

 

答:一般我们会鼓励闭上眼睛。因为不闭上眼睛,眼睛看到前面的物体或人的话,一有眼触就会产生感受,由感受可能会带动妄念或情绪,这对修定是个障碍!闭上眼睛可以阻挡色尘进入眼睛而产生的妄想。但对有些人来说,闭上眼睛,尤其是修安般念的时候,额头好像非常的紧绷。如果你有这种现象,建议你半睁开眼睛,眯眯眼就好了。

 

11问:今天是第二天修禅,不知道要达到怎样的状态才是好的,是出现光圈还是幻觉?我都没有,是不是还没有进入状态呢?

 

答:为什么一定要有光圈或者幻觉呢?从这个问题可以看出你们太看重成绩。第一、二天我对学员没有要求,这两天大家很多时候都在跟腿疼斗争,跟昏沉纠缠,在妄念中挣扎,所以这两天我也只是这样期待你们罢了。你在第二天就期待光圈、幻觉的出现?不要期待得那么高,很不切实际!(笑)法要顺其自然,时间到了,法就会展现出来。因缘不成熟,你再想要光圈要幻觉,它也不会来的。所以我觉得不要好高骛远,就老老实实地修吧!没有什么禅修体验是值得执着的,由定产生的光圈固然是个好的现象,但如果你因此对它产生执着,你又跌入了另一个陷阱。一执着光圈,它就不再来了,因为你的心已经被贪污染,心被污染的话,我们在禅修上是不会进步的。所以要懂得善用由定产生的光圈,不懂得善用反倒成为你执取的对象,成为你修行的障碍。所以,你什么也不要期待,就老老实实地按照法师的指导去修行就对了。不要听到别人有光圈你也着急想要有,每一个人的修行进展都不一样,最重要的是涅槃,而不是光圈,不要太注重这个。

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