你以為佛法是一種「生活的藝術」嗎?

中譯出處
簡體中文中譯出處

菩提長老

在許多我看過的佛教出版品,覺察到一個幾乎被視為必然的普遍作法,就是把佛教修行從信仰與教理的基礎抽離,移植到其本質由西方人文主義——特别是人道主義心理學和超個人心理學——所界定的一般世俗日常生活。

我想,我們可以看到很多例子,利用內觀禪修當成西方心理治療的附屬品或對等物。實際上,我並不過度擔憂心理學家使用佛教技巧來提升心理的療愈。如果佛教禪修,能幫助人們對自己感覺更好,或者能活得更加醒覺和平靜,這是好事;若心理治療師能將禪修當作心理治療的工具,我祝他們成功!畢竟,「如來並非握拳不教的老師」,我們應該讓他人擷取佛法,有效運用於利樂世間。

我所關切的是,現今教授佛法的普遍趨勢,用大量心理學語詞來改寫佛陀教法的核心義理,之後說這是佛法。然而這樣,我們絕無法從佛教本身的結構,看出佛法的真正目的——並非導致心理上的療愈、完整或自我接受,而是策勵心靈朝向解脫—對治所有造成繫縛與痛苦的心理因素,最後從中解脫。我們應謹記,佛陀並未將佛法教導成「生活的藝術」,雖然它蘊含於內,但佛陀教導的是更超越、無上的「解脱道」——通往終極解脱和覺悟的道路。佛陀所指的覺悟,並非贊揚人類的有限,也不是被動屈服於我們性格的脆弱,而是透過徹底改革,突破至全然不同的境界,來克服這些有限。

這是我發現最能掌握佛法的叙述:在出世間法最高的成就,我們克服所有人類的缺點和脆弱,也包括生命必然死亡這件事。佛道的目標,不僅在於具足正念地生活與死去(當然這是值得成就的),而是超越生死達到完全不死、無可限量的涅槃。這是佛陀追尋覺悟過程中冀求的目標,也由於佛陀成就正覺,使得這目標可在世間實現。這是如法修行的結果,亦是依佛教原架構修學的終點。

然而,當把內觀修行教導成只是一種醒覺的生活方式,在洗碗盤和換尿布時保持覺知與平靜,這目標便失落了。當佛法存在的理由——出世間法被删除時,在我看來,剩下的只是去除菁華、空洞無力的教導,不再是能導向解脫的工具了。正確修行佛法,確實帶來許多現世的快樂。但佛陀終極的教導不只關於現世樂,而是要達到世間滅——這成就並非存在於遙遠的他方世界,而是在這具有感官與意識的六呎之軀中。

Climbing to the Top of the Mountain – An interview with Bhikkhu Bodhi
(Insight Journal, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies Volume 19, Fall 2002)
原始訪談全文

What do you make of the fact that Buddhism is becoming so popular in this country?

It is not difficult to understand why Buddhism should appeal to Americans at this particular juncture of our history. Theistic religions have lost their hold on the minds of many educated Americans, and this has opened up a deep spiritual vacuum that needs to be filled. For many, materialistic values are profoundly unsatisfying, and Buddhism offers a spiritual teaching that fits the bill. It is rational, experiential, practical, and personally verifiable; it brings concrete benefits that can be realized in one’s own life; it propounds lofty ethics and an intellectually cogent philosophy. Also, less auspiciously, it has an exotic air that attracts those fascinated by the mystical and esoteric.

The big question we face is whether and to what extent Buddhism should be refashioned to conform to the particular exigencies imposed by American culture. Throughout history Buddhism has generally adjusted its forms to enable it to adapt to the indigenous cultures and thought-worlds in which it has taken root. Yet beneath these modifications, which allowed it to thrive in different cultural contexts, it has usually remained faithful to its essential insights. This may be the biggest challenge facing Buddhism in America, where the intellectual milieu is so different from anything Buddhism has ever previously encountered that in our haste to effect the necessary adaptations we may be unwittingly diluting or even expurgating principles fundamental to the Dhamma. I believe we need to be very cautious if we are to find a successful middle way between too rigid adherence to traditional Asiatic forms and excessive accommodation to contemporary Western—and specifically American—intellectual, social, and cultural pressures.

It might be counterproductive to attempt to import into America a version of Theravada Buddhism that retains all the customs and mores of Southeast Asia. But I believe it is essential to preserve those principles that lie at the very heart of the Dhamma, and to clearly articulate the proper purpose for which the practice of the Dhamma is undertaken. If we tamper with these, we risk losing the essence along with the extrinsic accretions. In our current situation, I think the main danger is not inflexible adherence to established Buddhist forms, but excessive accommodation to the pressures of the American mind-set. In many of the Buddhist publications I have seen, I have detected signs of a widespread program, regarded almost as obligatory, to extract Buddhist practices from their grounding in Buddhist faith and doctrine and transplant them into a basically secular agenda whose parameters are defined by Western humanism, particularly humanistic and transpersonal psychology.

Can you point to ways this might be happening?

I think we see examples of this in the use of vipassana meditation as an adjunct or companion to Western psychotherapy. Actually, I’m not overly worried about psychologists using Buddhist techniques to promote psychological healing. If Buddhist meditation can help people feel more comfortable about themselves, or to live with greater awareness and equanimity, this is good. If psychotherapists can use Buddhist meditation as a tool of inner healing, I would say more power to them. After all, “the Tathagata does not have the closed fist of a teacher,” and we should let others take from the Dhamma what they can effectively use for beneficial ends.

What I am concerned about is the trend, common among present-day Buddhist teachers, of recasting the core principles of the Buddha’s teachings into largely psychological terms and then saying, “This is Dhamma.” When this is done we may never get to see that the real purpose of the teaching, in its own framework, is not to induce “healing” or “wholeness” or “self-acceptance,” but to propel the mind in the direction of deliverance – and to do so by attenuating, and finally extricating, all those mental factors responsible for our bondage and suffering. We should remember that the Buddha did not teach the Dhamma as an “art of living” – though it includes that – but above all as a path to deliverance, a path to final liberation and enlightenment. And what the Buddha means by enlightenment is not a celebration of the limitations of the human condition, not a passive submission to our frailties, but an overcoming of those limitations by making a radical, revolutionary breakthrough to an altogether different dimension of being.

This is what I find most gripping about the Dhamma: its culmination in a transcendent dimension in which we overcome all the flaws and vulnerabilities of the human condition, including our bondage to death itself. The aim of the Buddhist path is not living and dying with mindfulness (though these are, of course, worthy achievements), but transcending life and death entirely to arrive at the Deathless, at the Immeasurable, at Nirvana. This is the goal the Buddha sought for himself during his own quest for enlightenment, and it is this attainment that his enlightenment made available to the world. This is the end at which the proper practice of Dhamma points, the end for which the practice is undertaken in its original framework.

This end, however, is lost to view when insight meditation is taught as just a way to live mindfully, to wash dishes and change baby’s diapers with awareness and tranquility. When the transcendent dimension of the Dhamma, its very raison d’etre, is expunged, what we are left with is, in my view, an eviscerated, enfeebled version of the teaching that can no longer function as a vehicle to deliverance. Though correctly practiced, the Dhamma does bring abundant happiness within the world, ultimately the teaching is not about living happily in the world but about reaching “the end of the world"—an end that is to be found not in the far regions of outer space but within this fathom-long body with its senses and consciousness.

So you do not think Dhamma is being taught as a path of deliverance?

The impression I get from what I’ve read in contemporary American Buddhist publications is that this aspect of Buddhist practice is receiving little emphasis. I hear of students being taught to accept themselves; to live in the present from moment to moment without attachment and clinging; to enjoy, honor and celebrate their vulnerability. Again, I don’t want to underestimate the importance of approaching the practice with a healthy psychological attitude. For a person troubled by self-condemnation, who is always dejected and miserable, the practice of intensive meditation is more likely to be harmful than beneficial. The same might be said of a person who lacks a strong center of psychological integration or of one who tries to deny his weaknesses and vulnerabilities by presenting a façade of strength and self-confidence.

But I have to emphasize that the training that accords with the Buddha’s own clear intentions presupposes that we are prepared to adopt a critical stance towards the ordinary functioning of our mind. This involves seeing our vulnerabilities, i.e., our mental defilements, not as something to be celebrated but as a liability, as a symptom of our "fallen” condition. It also presupposes that we are determined to transform ourselves, both in the immediate moment-to-moment functioning of our minds and in their more stable and persistent extension over time.

To take up the Buddha’s training is thus to draw a distinction, even a sharp distinction, between our characters (proclivities, dispositions, habits, etc.) as they are now, and the ideals to which we should aspire and seek to embody by our practice of the Buddhist path. The mental dispositions we must acknowledge and seek to rectify are our kilesas, the defilements or afflictions: the three root-defilements of greed, aversion and delusion, and their many offshoots such as anger, obstinacy, arrogance, vanity, jealousy, selfishness, hypocrisy, etc.

So the great affirmation to which the Buddhist path points us is not the wonders of our “ordinary mind,” but of the mind that has been illuminated by true wisdom, the mind that has been purified of all taints and corruptions, the mind that has been liberated from all bonds and fetters and has become suffused with a universal love and compassion that spring from the depth and clarity of understanding. The practice of the Buddhist path is the systematic way to close the gap between our ordinary unenlightened mind and the enlightened, liberated state towards which we aspire, a state which rises to and merges with the Deathless.

To reach this transcendent goal requires training, a precise, detailed and systematic process of training, and fundamental to this whole course of training is the endeavor to master and control one’s own mind. One begins with the development of such fundamental qualities as faith, devotion, moral virtue and generosity, proceeds through the development of concentration, and then arrives at direct insight and true wisdom.



One thought on “你以為佛法是一種「生活的藝術」嗎?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *