狂象

日本の仏教では、釈迦牟尼如来が悟りを開いたことを記念する成道会(じょうどうえ)は12月8日に行われています。サンマテオ仏教会では、皆様が一緒にご参拝できるよう、今年12月3日(日曜日)9時半からの成道会を行いますので、是非お参りください。成道会はゴータマ・シッダッタが悟りの道と智慧の光を求めた歩みを繰り返した、仏様の素晴らしいところを褒めたたえる法要です。その智慧の光を得た瞬間にシッダッタが仏となって、後に釈迦牟尼(釈迦族の聖者)と呼ばれるようになりました。

釈迦牟尼仏は悟りを開いてから45年間、争いと迷いの多い世の中においても智慧と慈悲に輝いた生涯を送られました。下記のエピソードにその智慧と慈悲を拠り所とし、釋迦様の名称を恨んだ従兄弟の提婆達多(だいばだった)に対する釈迦牟尼の素晴らしい対応が描かれています。

その時に世尊の中に提婆達多の名くるものがあつた。学識世に勝れて、夙(つと)に一方の識者をもつて任競られてゐるが、世尊の教化が日に旺盛となつて、すべて世尊の門に走るのを見て、内心に嫉妬(しっと)を起し、あらゆる方便(しゅだん)を用ひて世尊の教化を妨ぐる正法破壊の鬼となつた。

或る時に耆閣崛山に登つて、折から其の麓(ふもと)を通行せらるゝ世尊に向つて、大きな岩石を投じ、もつて世尊の命を絶たうとした。けれ共石は共石は分れた左右に飛び、竟(つい)に世尊を害することは出来なかつた。

又或る時に彼れは、平坦の道の上に狂酔のした悪象を放つた。象は雷霆のやうに吼(ほ)え廻り、其の勇悍(ゆうかん)さは雲の走るに似て、道の左右に倚り狂ひ、暴風のそれにも似て、鼻牙四足の蠋るゝまゝに摧碎(くだ)き廻つた。

それがためは王舎城の巷路は、死體の山を築き、血の海と化し、衆(すべて)人みな家を閉して出でず、城内をあげて戰慄(せんりつ)し、たゞ驚嘆の聲に充(あ)ち、國を逸れて逸れて他國に走らうとするもあれば、穴を見出してこれに難を避けんとしては、反つてこれがために死傷するものも夥(おびただ)しかつた。

世尊は其の時五百の大衆と共に、町に行乞に出でられた。總ての人は世尊の危険を恐れて行乞を止めて歸り給はんことを乞ふた。

けれ共世尊は心泰然として更に動せらるず、反つて畜生の心の貪りと嫉みの苦に煩えてゐるのを憐まれ、彼れの心を和げやうとせられて、反つて狂象の側に近づかれた。

五百の弟子たちは恐れをなして逃げ避けてゐるにもかゝわらず、世尊は阿難を一人召し連れて醉象の前に立たれた。

盛んに荒れ狂ふた酔象も、一目、世尊の尊容を見奉るや否や、即所(たちどこ)に其の見を世尊の前に投げ出した様は、大山が一時に崩るゝかと許り思はれた。

世尊は手に蓮華をもつて狂象の頭を摩ぜられて、彼に向つていはるゝやう。

『象よ、汝は消して大龍を害してはならない。象と龍と戰ふことは、非常に困難の事である。若しも象が大龍を害しやうと思ふたらば、どうしても汝は畜生の苦患から免るゝことは出来ない。

貪瞋癡の迷酔は、実に醒め難いものであるけれ共、これを醒ます方便はたゞゞ佛道ある許りである。

それであるから、汝今より心を改めて、自ら内に省みて此の三毒の酔より覚めなくてはならぬ。一度苦海に沒入するときは、ますます深底に入る許りである』

と、狂象は世尊の説を聴いて、狂酔の心は頓に覚めて、即ち世尊の正化に潤(うるお)ふことが出来て、其の心は渇せるものゝ、甘露の水を得たに似て満足に充ちた。

仏所行讃 : 現代意訳, 池田卓然 訳著, p. 286-288

釋迦様は酔象を恐れなかったので、敵意なしに慈悲をもって対応されました。この酔象の話では、忍辱と慈悲によって恐ろしい敵の心を転回できる可能性が示されています。私にとって、釋迦様のような慈悲を実践することは非常に難しいので、親鸞聖人の次の言葉に他力念仏が大慈悲に生かされている道であることをありがたくご聴聞させていただきます。

浄土の慈悲というは、念仏して、いそぎ仏になりて、大慈大悲心をもって、おもふがごとく衆生を利益するをいふべきなり。

(『歎異抄』第四章)

 

南無阿弥陀仏


The Maddened Elephant

In Japan, Bodhi Day, the day of Sakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, is traditionally observed on December 8. This year we invite you to join us for a special Bodhi Day Service on Sunday, December 3 at 9:30 a.m. Bodhi Day is a time when we reflect on Siddhartha Gautama’s heroic journey in search of the light of clear wisdom that shines through the darkness of ignorance and mistaken thinking. When he fully realized that light of wisdom in his mind, he became a Buddha, or “Awakened One,” who would come to be revered as Sakyamuni, the Sage of the Sakya Clan.

The 45 years of Sakyamuni’s life that followed his realization of Buddhahood, provide a model for manifesting the awakened mind in the midst of the violence and chaos that has existed in our world since ancient times and sadly continues to this day. The following episode from the traditional biography of the Buddha describes how Sakyamuni relied on the wisdom and compassion of awakening to respond to the mayhem caused by his cousin Devadatta, who envied the Buddha’s renown and sought to usurp his leadership of the Sangha.

At that time, when Devadatta saw the excellence of the Buddha’s qualities, deep in his heart he felt jealous and withdrew from the trances. He used evil means to destroy the order of the Right Law.

[Devadatta] ascended Mount Grdhrakuta, let a rock fall, and tried to hit the Buddha with it, but the rock split in two and fell to the Buddha’s left and right.

On the level and straight royal road [Devadatta] let loose a maddened evil elephant. His rolling roar was like thunder. His ferocity burst forth, forming a cloud. He rushed on like a storm, mighty as a fierce wind.

His trunk, tusks, tail, and four feet—coming into contact with them would absolutely bring destruction. In the alleys and streets of the city of Rajagrha, those he had killed and injured lay scattered about. After their violent deaths, the corpses lay spread out in the streets. Brains and blood were spattered all around.

All the men and women were afraid to go out. The whole city trembled [in fear]. One heard only voices calling out in panic. Some left the city
in a hurry, and others hid in caves.

The Tathagata and a group of five hundred then arrived and entered the city. The people in the windows high on the pavilions advised the Buddha not to proceed.

The Tathagata was composed at heart and complacent, and his countenance was free from distress. He was mindful only of the suffering of envy. His compassionate mind wished to put [the elephant] at ease.

As a multitude of gods and dragons followed all around, [the Buddha] gradually approached the place where the maddened elephant was. All the bhiksus had fled, so he was accompanied only by Ananda. Just like the one specific nature of all kinds of characteristics of the Law, he did not move.

The maddened elephant burst forth in a rage, but when he saw the Buddha, his mind immediately became calm. He threw himself down and made obeisance at the Buddha’s feet, as if Mount Tai had crumbled.

With his lotus-like palm, [the Buddha] patted [the elephant] on the head, just like the sun shining on a dark cloud. As [the elephant] knelt at the Buddha’s feet, he expounded the Law to him, saying:

“No elephant may injure the greatest dragon! It is hard for an elephant to fight a dragon, but if an elephant wants to injure the greatest dragon, he will never be reborn in a wholesome destination!

“The infatuations of greed, anger, and delusion are difficult to subdue, but the Buddha has subdued them. That is why you should now reject greed, anger, and delusion. If you do not reject them, [you will be] sunk in the mud of suffering and they will further increase.”

When the elephant had heard the Buddha’s exposition, his madness was destroyed and his mind immediately gained insight. He was content in body and in mind, as when one is thirsty and drinks the nectar of immortality.

(Buddhacarita: In Praise of the Buddha’s Acts, translated by Charles Willemen, pg. 153-154)

Because the Buddha does not feel threatened by the elephant, he is able to meet it with compassion rather than aggression. This story illustrates the power of patient compassion to transform even the most terrifying adversary. I find it exceedingly difficult to exhibit such awakened compassion in my own life. Nevertheless, I take comfort in Shinran Shonin’s assurance that the nembutsu is indeed the path to a life of boundless compassion:

Compassion in the Pure Land Path should be understood as first attaining Buddhahood quickly through saying the nembutsu and, with the mind of great love and compassion, freely benefiting sentient beings as one wishes.

(Collected Works of Shinran, p. 633)

 

Namo Amida Butsu