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業  [作者]坦尼沙羅尊者

(2011-03-21 20:23:03)
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解脫

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分类: 解脱道

[] >> [林居傳統]



[作者]坦尼沙羅尊者
[中譯]良稹
Karma
by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu

原文版權所有 ©  2000 坦尼沙羅比丘。免費發行。本文允許在任何媒體再版、重排、重印、印發。然而,作者希望任何再版與分發以對公衆免費與無限制的形式進行,譯文與轉載也要求表明作者原衷。


中譯版權所有 ©  2005 良稹,http://www.theravadacn.org ,流通條件如上。轉載時請包括本站連接,并登載本版權聲明。

Karma is one of those words we don't translate. Its basic meaning is simple enough — action — but because of the weight the Buddha's teachings give to the role of action, the Sanskrit word karma packs in so many implications that the English word action can't carry all its luggage. This is why we've simply airlifted the original word into our vocabulary.

有些詞我們是不譯的,karma[業]便是其中之一。它的基本含義很簡單 ——行動[action]——但由於佛陀的教導中關於行動的闡述占據了相當的比重,karma 這個梵文詞因此滿載著複雜的內涵,使得“行動” [action]這個英語單詞不勝重荷。這就是我們何以幹脆把原詞空運過來,納入自身語彙之故。

But when we try unpacking the connotations the word carries now that it has arrived in everyday usage, we find that most of its luggage has gotten mixed up in transit. In the eyes of most Americans, karma functions like fate — bad fate, at that: an inexplicable, unchangeable force coming out of our past, for which we are somehow vaguely responsible and powerless to fight. "I guess it's just my karma," I've heard people sigh when bad fortune strikes with such force that they see no alternative to resigned acceptance. The fatalism implicit in this statement is one reason why so many of us are repelled by the concept of karma, for it sounds like the kind of callous myth-making that can justify almost any kind of suffering or injustice in the status quo: "If he's poor, it's because of his karma." "If she's been raped, it's because of her karma." From this it seems a short step to saying that he or she deserves to suffer, and so doesn't deserve our help.

然而,如今這個詞既已成爲日常用語,我們在拆解它的內涵時,卻發現搬運後不少含義已混雜不清。在多數美國人看來, karma 與命運同義——惡運是一股來自我們過去的、不可解釋、不可改變的力量,我們對它隱隱約約感到罪有應得、想改變它卻無能爲力。我聽見人們在惡運突降、招架不及時,逆來順受地歎道: “我猜這是我的 karma”。這句話裏隱含的宿命感,是我們當中不少人何以對業力觀心存排斥之故,因爲聽上去像是在麻木不仁地故作神秘,如此即可使任何苦難、不公正之事合理化。“如果他貧窮,那是因爲他的 karma”。 “ 如果她被強暴,那是因爲她的 karma”。從這裏出發,再走一小步便可以說,他/她活該受罪,因此不值得我們相助。

This misperception comes from the fact that the Buddhist concept of karma came to the West at the same time as non-Buddhist concepts, and so ended up with some of their luggage. Although many Asian concepts of karma are fatalistic, the early Buddhist concept was not fatalistic at all. In fact, if we look closely at early Buddhist ideas of karma, we'll find that they give even less importance to myths about the past than most modern Americans do.

這種誤解來自於,佛教的業力觀傳到西方時非佛教概念也同時傳入,結果前者便帶有某些非佛教的積澱。盡管不少亞洲人的業力觀也帶有宿命成分,在早期佛教中業力概念中宿命感卻根本不存在。實際上,仔細審查早期佛教的業力思想,我們會發現當時人們對待過去的神話,其重視程度甚至低於多數現代的美國人。

For the early Buddhists, karma was non-linear. Other Indian schools believed that karma operated in a straight line, with actions from the past influencing the present, and present actions influencing the future. As a result, they saw little room for free will. Buddhists, however, saw that karma acts in feedback loops, with the present moment being shaped both by past and by present actions; present actions shape not only the future but also the present. This constant opening for present input into the causal process makes free will possible. This freedom is symbolized in the imagery the Buddhists used to explain the process: flowing water. Sometimes the flow from the past is so strong that little can be done except to stand fast, but there are also times when the flow is gentle enough to be diverted in almost any direction.

對早期佛教徒來說,業力是非線性的。其它的印度教派則相信,業力作用爲線性: 過去的行動影響現在,現在的行動影響將來。結果,他們認爲自由意志無多少發揮余地。然而佛教徒卻把業力看成是一個反饋循環,當下時刻同時由過往行動與當前行動構成;當下的行動不僅構成未來,也構成當下。這個始終對當前輸入開放的因果過程,使自由意志成爲可能。佛教徒在解釋這個過程時用流水的比喻象征這種自由:有時來自過去的水流強勢,除鎮定之外可爲之事不多,但也有時水流和緩,可令它朝幾乎任何方向改道而行。

So, instead of promoting resigned powerlessness, the early Buddhist notion of karma focused on the liberating potential of what the mind is doing with every moment. Who you are — what you come from — is not anywhere near as important as the mind's motives for what it is doing right now. Even though the past may account for many of the inequalities we see in life, our measure as human beings is not the hand we've been dealt, for that hand can change at any moment. We take our own measure by how well we play the hand we've got. If you're suffering, you try not to continue the unskillful mental habits that would keep that particular karmic feedback going. If you see that other people are suffering, and you're in a position to help, you focus not on their karmic past but your karmic opportunity in the present: Someday you may find yourself in the same predicament that they're in now, so here's your opportunity to act in the way you'd like them to act toward you when that day comes.

因此,遠不同於鼓勵逆來順受的無奈感,早期佛教的業力概念,側重於釋放心智在每時每刻如何行動的潛力。你是誰、從哪裏來等問題的重要性,遠不如心的動機如何影響當下這個問題。盡管用過去能夠解釋許多生活中所見的不平等,我們衡量人的價值,卻不在已攤開在面前的那副牌上,而在隨時可以改動的這手牌上。我們如何打出手上這副牌,便是在實現自身的價值。如果你在受苦,便試著不再繼續缺乏善巧的思維習慣,它使你那個特定苦業的反饋循環得以轉動不息。如果你見到他人受苦,而你有機會相助,就不要關注他們的舊業,而是注重於你自己當下之業的(或譯行動的)機會。有一天你或許會發現自己也身處他們現在的困境,因此這裏就有你行動的機會,用你希望他們在那一天到來時對待你的方式來對待他們。

This belief that one's dignity is measured, not by one's past, but by one's present actions, flew right in the face of the Indian traditions of caste-based hierarchies, and explains why early Buddhists had such a field day poking fun at the pretensions and mythology of the brahmans. As the Buddha pointed out, a brahman could be a superior person not because he came out of a brahman womb, but only if he acted with truly skillful intentions.

這個主張人的尊嚴不以過去、而以當前行動來衡量的信仰,與印度種姓制傳統背道而馳,這也解釋了爲什麽早期佛教徒對於婆羅門的自負與神話如此戲謔笑談。如佛陀指出,一位婆羅門之能成爲精英,非因他生於婆羅門之家,而只有當他真正以善巧動機行事之時。

We read the early Buddhist attacks on the caste system, and aside from their anti-racist implications, they often strike us as quaint. What we fail to realize is that they strike right at the heart of our myths about our own past: our obsession with defining who we are in terms of where we come from — our race, ethnic heritage, gender, socio-economic background, sexual preference — our modern tribes. We put inordinate amounts of energy into creating and maintaining the mythology of our tribe so that we can take vicarious pride in our tribe's good name. Even when we become Buddhists, the tribe comes first. We demand a Buddhism that honors our myths.

我們閱讀早期佛教徒對種姓制的批判,在理解其反種姓制的寓意之外,常有一股怪異之感。我們不曾意識到的是,這些批判正打中了我們有關自身背景的神話——我們總是執迷於那些代表自己來曆的事物: 種族、民族傳統、性別、社會經濟背景、性向——即現代種群的屬性。我們付出大量的精力,制造與維持某個種群的神話,以便對這個種群的好名聲持一股與有榮焉的驕傲感。哪怕成了佛教徒,也要以這個種群優先。我們要一種推崇那些神話的佛教。

From the standpoint of karma, though, where we come from is old karma, over which we have no control. What we "are" is a nebulous concept at best — and pernicious at worst, when we use it to find excuses for acting on unskillful motives. The worth of a tribe lies only in the skillful actions of its individual members. Even when those good people belong to our tribe, their good karma is theirs, not ours. And, of course, every tribe has its bad members, which means that the mythology of the tribe is a fragile thing. To hang onto anything fragile requires a large investment of passion, aversion, and delusion, leading inevitably to more unskillful actions on into the future.

不過從業力角度看,我們從哪裏來屬於舊業,對此我們毫無掌控。我們“是”什麽,從好處講僅爲一團朦胧的概念,從劣處講若作爲非善巧動機的藉口,却是有害的。一個種群的價值僅體現於其中個別成員的善巧之業。即便那些善士屬於我們這個種群,他們的善業是他們的,不是我們的。此外,每一個種群裏自然有不良成員,這意味著種群神話有其脆弱性。緊抓任何脆弱的事物,要求我們注入大量的貪、瞋、癡,在未來不可避免地導致更多非善巧之業。

So the Buddhist teachings on karma, far from being a quaint relic from the past, are a direct challenge to a basic thrust — and basic flaw — in our culture. Only when we abandon our obsession with finding vicarious pride in our tribal past, and can take actual pride in the motives that underlie our present actions, can we say that the word karma, in its Buddhist sense, has recovered its luggage. And when we open the luggage, we'll find that it's brought us a gift: the gift we give ourselves and one another when we drop our myths about who we are, and can instead be honest about what we're doing with each moment — at the same time making the effort to do it right.

因此,佛教的業力教導,遠非一套古舊遺說,而是對我們文化的一個基本動力——以及基本缺陷—— 的直接挑戰。只有放棄執著地從自己的種群史中尋找與有榮焉的自豪感,而是從當下行爲的動機中得到切實的自豪,我們才可以說,karma 這個詞已恢複了它在佛教意義上的內涵。如此探索這個詞的內涵,會發現它帶來了一件禮物: 當我們放下自己是誰的神話,能夠誠實地面對每時每刻自己的行爲,同時努力行事周正——我們便獲得了這件既可自贈、也可贈人的禮物。
[譯按:文中過去、現在、將來,也可譯爲前世、現世、來世。]

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/modern/thanissaro/karma.html
最近訂正 4-22-2007

[] >> [林居傳統]

涅槃的意義

[作者]坦尼沙羅尊者
[中譯]良稹
Nibbana
by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu

原文版權所有 ©  1997 坦尼沙羅比丘。免費發行。本文允許在任何媒體再版、重排、重印、印發。然而,作者希望任何再版與分發以對公衆免費與無限制的形式進行,譯文與轉載也要求表明作者原衷。


中譯版權所有 ©  2005 良稹,http://www.theravadacn.org ,流通條件如上。轉載時請包括本站連接,并登載本版權聲明。

We all know what happens when a fire goes out. The flames die down and the fire is gone for good. So when we first learn that the name for the goal of Buddhist practice, nibbana (nirvana), literally means the extinguishing of a fire, it's hard to imagine a deadlier image for a spiritual goal: utter annihilation. It turns out, though, that this reading of the concept is a mistake in translation, not so much of a word as of an image. What did an extinguished fire represent to the Indians of the Buddha's day? Anything but annihilation.

我們都了解火焰熄滅的情形。 火盡煙散、寂然無迹。 因此我們初次了解到,涅槃(nibbana/nirvana)這個詞,作爲佛教的修持目標,其字面意思是火焰的熄滅, 會感到作爲一個靈性追求目標,很難想象有比徹底消亡這個形象更致命的了。 不過,對於涅槃概念作這般理解,實際上是一個誤會,並非在文字上,而是在形象上。對於佛陀時代的印度人來說,熄滅之火代表了什麽? 絕對不是消亡。

According to the ancient Brahmans, when a fire was extinguished it went into a state of latency. Rather than ceasing to exist, it became dormant and in that state — unbound from any particular fuel — it became diffused throughout the cosmos. When the Buddha used the image to explain nibbana to the Indian Brahmans of his day, he bypassed the question of whether an extinguished fire continues to exist or not, and focused instead on the impossibility of defining a fire that doesn't burn: thus his statement that the person who has gone totally "out" can't be described.

根據古老的婆羅門信仰,火焰熄滅時進入一個潛在階段。 它並非停止存在,而是處於靜態,在這個不受燃料束縛的狀態下擴散開來,彌漫於空間。 當佛陀用這個比喻對當時印度的婆羅門人士講解涅槃之意時,繞過了熄滅之火是否繼續存在的問題,而是側重於說明,要定義不燃之火是不可能的: 因此他關於一個徹底“熄滅”者的稱謂,也是不可描述的。

However, when teaching his own disciples, the Buddha used nibbana more as an image of freedom. Apparently, all Indians at the time saw burning fire as agitated, dependent, and trapped, both clinging and being stuck to its fuel as it burned. To ignite a fire, one had to "seize" it. When fire let go of its fuel, it was "freed," released from its agitation, dependence, and entrapment — calm and unconfined. This is why Pali poetry repeatedly uses the image of extinguished fire as a metaphor for freedom. In fact, this metaphor is part of a pattern of fire imagery that involves two other related terms as well. Upadana, or clinging, also refers to the sustenance a fire takes from its fuel. Khandha means not only one of the five "heaps" (form, feeling, perception, thought processes, and consciousness) that define all conditioned experience, but also the trunk of a tree. Just as fire goes out when it stops clinging and taking sustenance from wood, so the mind is freed when it stops clinging to the khandhas.

但是,佛陀在對自己的弟子講解時,更多地用涅槃的形象作爲自由的象征。當時的印度人,似乎都把燃燒之火看成動蕩、有依賴性、禁锢狀態,燃燒時既執取、又受縛於燃料。爲了點火,必須把它“抓獲”(seize)。 火在放棄了(let go)燃料之後,便“自由”了,從動蕩、依賴、禁锢中獲得解脫,甯靜、不受制約。 這就是爲什麽巴利文詩偈中反複以熄滅之火的形象作爲自由的比喻。實際上,這個詞屬於火的一組類比,相關詞彙另有兩個。Upadana,意爲執著,也指火從燃料中獲得的滋養。 Khandha,不僅指界定一切緣起經驗的五蘊之一——形態、感受、辨知,思維、意識,而且還指樹幹。 正如火停止執著、停止從木料獲取滋養,便熄滅了; 心終止對五蘊的執著時,便獲得了自由。

Thus the image underlying nibbana is one of freedom. The Pali commentaries support this point by tracing the word nibbana to its verbal root, which means "unbinding." What kind of unbinding? The texts describe two levels. One is the unbinding in this lifetime, symbolized by a fire that has gone out but whose embers are still warm. This stands for the enlightened arahant, who is conscious of sights and sounds, sensitive to pleasure and pain, but freed from passion, aversion, and delusion. The second level of unbinding, symbolized by a fire so totally out that its embers have grown cold, is what the arahant experiences after this life. All input from the senses cools away and he/she is totally freed from even the subtlest stresses and limitations of existence in space and time.

因此,涅槃這個形象之下的內涵是指自由。巴利論藏追溯其動詞的詞根爲“解脫”(unbinding),也支持這個觀點。是怎樣的解脫? 經文中描述了兩個層次。一個是此生的解脫,以火已熄滅、余燼尚溫爲象征,這代表已證悟的阿羅漢,有視覺聽覺,敏感於喜樂,但已脫離了貪、瞋、癡。第二個層次的解脫,以火焰滅盡、余燼已冷作爲象征,代表了阿羅漢此生以後的經驗。來自感官的一切輸入冷卻下來,他/她從時空存在的最細微的苦與局限中獲得了解脫。
 

The Buddha insists that this level is indescribable, even in terms of existence or nonexistence, because words work only for things that have limits. All he really says about it — apart from images and metaphors — is that one can have foretastes of the experience in this lifetime, and that it's the ultimate happiness, something truly worth knowing.

佛陀堅持說,這後一個層次是不可描述的,即便以存在與非存在角度也不可能,因爲言辭只適於有限事物。他除了以形象和比喻之外,實際上說的只是,人在此生可以預嘗終極喜樂的經驗,而這個經驗是真正值得了解的。

So the next time you watch a fire going out, see it not as a case of annihilation, but as a lesson in how freedom is to be found in letting go.

因此,下一次你目睹火焰熄滅時,不要把它作爲消亡的例證,而看成從舍棄中獲得自由的一課。

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/modern/thanissaro/nibbana.html
最近訂正 10-26-2008

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