真實救度的世界 (4):救世觀音菩薩的化現

對於聖人娶妻之事,學者之間有各種不同的看法。有人認為,聖人是在被流放到越後之後才娶妻;也有人認為,聖人是在成為法然上人的弟子之後,在京都時就已經娶妻。此事難有定論,不過在越後時娶妻的可能性比較大,因為在當時候,和尚是禁止結婚的,如果結婚會受到嚴格的懲戒。

去了解聖人為何娶妻,是認識聖人的教法的一個關鍵。1203年,聖人31歲,在捨自力法門的兩年之後,聖人在六角堂得到了救世觀音菩薩的夢告:「行者宿報設女犯,我成玉女身被犯,一生之間能莊嚴,臨終引導生極樂。」

這個夢告史稱「六角堂女犯的夢告」,有人認為這個夢告發生在聖人29歲閉關時所夢,但當時聖人所關心的個人的生死問題──是要繼續聖道門的自力修行,還是要歸入淨土的他力法門。在解決後生一大事之後,這個女犯的夢告引導了聖人後來決定娶妻。

在《黑谷上人語燈錄》(法然上人的開示行誼錄)的一段文中,法然上人說道:「念佛,而過此世之生活。只要不妨礙念佛,在這世間做什麼事,是沒有差別的。如果你捨家棄欲,而無法念佛,那就娶妻;如果你娶妻,而無法念佛,那就捨家棄欲。」

六角堂女犯的夢告所示,親鸞聖人很可能視妻子惠信尼1128-1270為救世觀音菩薩的化現。而在惠信尼這一方,在親鸞聖人往生之後,她在寫給么女覺信尼1224-1283的一封書信中,明白說到自己視親鸞聖人為救世觀音菩薩之化現。惠信尼在信中說,他們在常陸國時,她曾經夢過親鸞聖人是觀音菩薩的化現。她從未跟聖人談起這個夢,但之後她便視聖人是為觀音菩薩的化現。

親鸞聖人往生後,么女覺信尼寫信給母親惠信尼,說明父親臨終的情況。覺信尼的這封信沒有留下來,但從惠信尼的回信來看,我們可以推測親鸞聖人往生時並無天樂異香等瑞相。但聖人臨終是否現病苦之相,則無從得知。

而惠信尼在回信中明白地告訴覺信尼,不管聖人臨終之相為何,親鸞聖人往生淨土乃是無疑之事。


 

Because the Venerable Master married as a result of a revelation by Kusekannon Bosatsu救世觀音, he very likely considered his wife Esshin-ni惠信尼(1128-1270to be the transformed body of Kannnon Bosatsu (the body that Kannon Bosatsu took to appear in this world). Conversely, Esshin-ni considered the Venerable Master to be the transformed body of Kannon Bosatsu in this world. This is evident in letters that she wrote to their youngest daughter Kakushin-ni (1224-1283) following the Venerable Master’s passing. These letters are collectively referred to as “Esshin-ni’s Letters” (Esshin-ni Shosoku惠信尼消息). In one of those letters, Esshin-ni wrote that while they were residing in the village of Shimotsuma in Hitachi Province 常陸國 (Sakai in Ibaraki Prefecture茨城縣  today), she dreamed that the Venerable Master was the incarnation of Kannon Bosatsu. She did not inform the Venerable Master about that dream but that is how she seems to have considered him from then on.

At any rate, the Venerable Master and his wife revered each other as embodiments of Kannon Bosatsu in this world. That’s why I believe theirs must be considered an ideal marriage. Another very impressive comment in another of “Esshin-ni’s Letters” is her statement that regardless of the way in the Venerable Master left this world, there is absolutely no doubt that he was “born in the Pure Land” (ojo). This letter was written in response to a letter from Kakushin-ni in which the particulars of how the Venerable Master left this world was described. Because Kakushin-ni’s letter does not remain today, we can only speculate that bright lights did not flash, nor music heard (as is often the case in describing the deaths of outstanding Buddhist monks), or whether or not the Venerable Master suffered even a little in deathbed. But in response to Kakushin-ni’s letter, Esshin-ni was adamant in telling her daughter that regardless of the Venerable Master’s last moments, there was no doubt that he was born in the Pure Land. She obviously had no doubt that in his everyday life, the Venerable Master spent his days absolutely confident that his birth in the Pure Land was assured because his shinjin was settled. This is referred to as being in “(the group of) those guaranteed to be born (in the Pure Land) from which there is no retrogression” (shojoju futaiten). I believe this is indeed a wonderful thing.

 

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