V 1-11 Difference between Benevolent Deeds and Meritorious Deeds 善事和功德的区别

Disclaimer: The translations are not official nor endorsed by 2OR, so please just treat it as a ‘fan-based’ translation. The Buddha-Dharma is profound. No matter how you convey it, it won’t be completely perfect. Because the Buddha-Dharma is an experience, it’s an awakening 【佛法深奥无比,怎么写,都不会是究竟圆满。佛法是一种悟】. Please enjoy, and I hope it serves as a good filler until the official English version comes out.


大家都知道“善有善报,恶有恶报”这句话,其实从佛法的角度来看这句话是完全正确的。善事善念指的是好的行为好的想法,凡是善事善念都会被记录在案,并且会在适当的时机得到善报。同样恶念恶行也会记录并给予惩罚,报应不爽。只是善事善念所带来的善报不能抵消恶念恶行所惹来的恶报,也就是说,当一个人做了很多善事,但也做了一件很大的恶事,那么他的善报一样会得到,而恶报也同样逃脱不了。这就是为什么有的人大家在人间公认他是个好人,但去世后却在地狱里受苦。

The following idiom may be familiar to you, “Benevolence is repaid with benevolence. Malice is repaid with malice.” From the perspective of Buddhism, this is correct. Benevolent deeds and thoughts refer to having good conduct and notions, all of which are recorded and then karmically rewarded when the time comes. The same goes with malicious thoughts and deeds, which are also recorded, and appropriate punishments shall be served. As the phrase goes, “retribution will be served unfailingly”. What is worth knowing is that the karmic rewards from benevolent deeds and thoughts are not able to counteract the karmic retribution brought about by our evil deeds and thoughts. In other words, if someone who has performed numerous benevolent deeds has also committed one serious malicious deed, they will receive their positive karmic reward but will not be able to escape their karmic retribution either. That explains why some acclaimed kind-hearted people suffer in hell after they pass away.


功德是佛法中非常强调的一个因素,什么是功德?它有什么用?其实功德就是善事善念,但是必须在菩萨面前许愿发心过的善事善念才是功德。平时我们的善事善念,如果没有在菩萨面前许过愿发过心,无论是自发的还是受佛法的影响,它就停留在自我表现的一个层次上。举个例子:一个人吃素,吃了好多年,但从没在菩萨面前发心许愿,那么即使十年吃全素,也只能是个人爱好。所以要在菩萨面前发心吃素,吃素就成为不杀生的一种善行,所以乐善好施,帮助别人,连行孝父母、友爱兄弟姐妹都要发心。但在庙宇观音堂等供养菩萨佛的地方,任何善事都是功德,不需另外发心了。这就像我们的文件要经过JP(太平绅士)签字才能在法律上生效一样,善事善念只有在菩萨的见证下才可以转成功德。

The meritorious deed is a highly emphasised element in Buddhism. What are meritorious deeds and what good does it do? Meritorious deeds are benevolent deeds and thoughts which are only considered to be meritorious if a vow of the deed was made in front of the Bodhisattvas. In the absence of such a gesture, our benevolent deeds and thoughts, regardless if they are from one’s intention or done under the influence of Buddhism, shall remain at the level of self-expression. Take as an example; if a person has been practising vegetarianism for many years but did not make a vow in front of the Bodhisattvas, their practice can only be regarded as their personal lifestyle preference. This explains the importance of making a vow to practise vegetarianism in front of Bodhisattva as the practice shall then become a meritorious action in our resolution to refrain from killing. Therefore, we must make a resolution in performing all benevolent and charitable deeds, be it in helping others, filial piety towards our parents, or affection towards our siblings. However, there is an exception, i.e. benevolent deeds performed at Buddhist places of worship such as the temple and Guan Yin Hall. Deeds performed at these places are naturally considered meritorious, hence making a separate resolution is unnecessary. Just like how our documents need to bear the signature of the JP (Justice of the Peace) to be legally binding, benevolent deeds and thoughts are only considered to be meritorious if a resolution has been made and witnessed by a Bodhisattva.


而功德有什么用呢?大家都知道业障或孽障的危害,它们就像程序中的病毒一样潜伏在人的阿赖耶识,时间一到就激活,就开始对人产生作用,这也是为什么有的人突然之间从非常健康到病危抢救,或意外事故,或遭劫。甚至有的人孽障太深则一生不顺,面色阴暗,怨天尤人。而今生行恶或杀生,如果还有福报没用完,那么恶业也会变成孽障存入阿赖耶识。阿赖耶识是八识中之第八识,又名“阿梨耶识”,是根本识,阿赖耶识中藏有无数的种子,可以引发人的善恶行为(主要指思维活动)。孽障藏在此处,只有用大功德可以进入并抵消孽障,从而达到清理孽障的效果。这就是“身是菩提树,心如明镜台,时时勤拂拭,勿使惹尘埃”,要靠功德拂去心上的尘埃。所以功德的一个重要功能就是消除抵消孽障,这是修佛修心者的首要任务。只有孽障消除了,心才清净,智慧才开,才有悟的可能性。

What is the purpose of meritorious blessings? All of us know the implications of karmic obstacles and negative karma. They are like the viruses in a computer program hiding in a person’s Alaya consciousness. When the time comes, they will be incited and take effect on the person. This explains why a perfectly healthy person could suddenly become critically ill, get involved in an accident or encounter a catastrophe. There are some whose negative karma are so weighty that they constantly face problems throughout their lives, and their complexions are dull. They always blame everybody and everything but themselves. If one continues to commit malicious deeds and acts of killing in their present life, even if they have residual karmic rewards, their malicious deeds will transform into negative karmic seeds which will be planted in the Alaya Consciousness. Alaya Consciousness is the Eighth Consciousness - the fundamental consciousness. In this level of consciousness, there are countless karmic seeds, that could trigger a person’s benevolent or malicious behaviour (it predominantly refers to a person’s line of thought). For negative karmas stored in the Alaya Consciousness hereto, ONLY significant meritorious blessings can penetrate and counteract, resulting in the effect of its purification. Like the stanza which states:

“The body is a Bodhi tree, The mind a standing mirror bright. At all times polish it diligently, And let no dust alight.”

We are reliant on our meritorious blessings to purify the defilements in our mind. Hence, one of the most important functions of meritorious blessings is to eliminate and counteract negative karma, and that should be the primary aim of our cultivation. Only when negative karma is eliminated can our mind become tranquil and peaceful, thus allowing us to gain wisdom, leading to the possibility for eventual enlightenment.



65 views

©2018 by 4Sage. Proudly created with Wix.com