阿難尊者のやさしい心

釈迦牟尼仏が約二千五百年前、北インドのクシナガラに入滅したことを記念する「涅槃会」を2018年2月11日の午前9時半からサンマテオ仏教会でお勤めしますので、是非ご参拝ください。

お釈迦様のご臨終が近付くと、お釈迦様は沙羅樹が二本並び立つ場所に頭を北に向けて横になられました。その時、常にお供をしていた仏弟子の阿難尊者は、お釈迦様の入滅の後は仏舎利(遺骨)はどのように拝めばよいですかと尋ねました。僧侶の仕事は修行であるから、遺骨の礼拝は智慧のある在家の信者らに任せばよろしいとお釈迦様は答えました。阿難は後に仏舎利を拝む在家の信者らに心を配り、続いて指導を願いました。在家の信者らは阿難に、釈迦様を丁寧に国王の葬儀の習慣に基づいて火葬をし、仏舎利塔に安置すればよろしいと指導しました。

葬儀などの詳しい話を耳にすると阿難は、お釈迦様が間も無く入滅する事実をようやく実感したようで、その場を去り、小屋の中に入って、「我まだ悟りを開いていない未完成なものなのに、親切に悟りへの道を教えてくださった師匠が間も無く入滅されてしまう!」と悲しみ、嘆きました。

お釈迦様は事情を聞きますと、阿難を呼び次のようにおっしゃいました。

「 阿難よ、もうよろしい。悲しむな。嘆くな。親しく愛しいものと必ず別離する事を今までに何度も説明したではありませんか。生あるもの、形をとるものは皆いつか必ず滅するのです。滅しないということはないのです。阿難よ、あなたは長年常に我に伴い、はばかるところなく行い、言葉、そして思いを持ってとても親切に喜びの気持ちで世話をしてくれた。そしてその厚意によって功徳を積んできました。励み続けば、そのうちに煩悩から解放されるのです。」

(『ディーガニカーヤ』 第十六章)

お釈迦様はこの慰めの言葉を伝えられ、阿難がこれまで怠ることなく、僧侶僧尼も、在家の男女も、国王も、庶民も、他宗の人も、すべての人々が皆お釈迦様の教えを聞き指導をいただくことができるように手配してきた事を褒められました。

そして阿難は次に、お釈迦様がまだこの世に現れていたわずかの残り時間の間に、この貴重な機会を逃さないように多くの人々がお釈迦様を参拝できるように勤めました。余りにもたくさんの人々が参拝しようとすると、入滅前に間に合わないので、阿難は一族当たり一人の代表を参拝するように工夫しました。このように阿難は自分の悲しみを乗り越え、仏陀と御法と仏弟子の仲間の三つの宝の為に尽くしました。

私にとって、お釈迦様のお弟子の中の阿難尊者は最も親しみを感じる存在です。既に悟りを開いていた仏弟子は穏やかで冷静にお釈迦様の入滅を受け入れましたが、阿難にとって仏様と別離するのはとても不安で悲しい事でした。そのため、お釈迦様は阿難に対し、まだ悟りを開いていない人々のための次のような尊い教えを説かれました。

「阿難よ、あなたは“師匠のお言葉は過去のもので、私たちはもう師匠がいらっしゃらない”と後で思うかもしれないが、決してそうではない。私が入滅したら、私があなたのために述べた教えと修行の法方があなたの師匠になる。」

(『ディーガニカーヤ』 第十六章)

また、別の時に阿難に向かって、次のように説かれました。

「阿難よ、あなたたちは皆、自らを帰依する洲にするべきである。仏法を帰依する洲にするべきである。そのために、身体を身体として観ずる。感情を感情とし、意識を意識とし、思いを思いとして観ずるがよい。観ずる時に目覚めを求めながら、迷いの世界の物事に対しての欲張りと悩みを捨てれば良い。」

(『ディーガニカーヤ』 第十六章)

現在の仏教は様々な宗派が存在していますが、皆が上記に述べてある道理にしたがって、智慧の光に照らされている自分の本当の姿に気づかされ、迷いの世界の欲張りと悩みを厭うことを勧めます。親鸞聖人は御消息の中に次のように本願他力の念仏に行かせられる人生の姿を述べておられます。「長年の間念仏して往生を願うすがたとは、かつての自らの悪い心をあらためて、同じ念仏の仲間とも互いに親しむ思いを持つようになることです。これが迷いの世界を厭うすがたであろうと思います。十分にお心得ください。」

(『親鸞聖人御消息 恵信尼消息(現代語版)浄土真宗聖典』 14頁)

 

南無阿弥陀仏


Ānanda’s Kind Heart

February is the month in which the Buddhist traditions of Japan observe the Nirvana Day Service commemorating the end of Śakyamuni Buddha’s life in this world and his passing into parinirvana approximately 2,500 years ago. We invite you join us at the San Mateo Buddhist Temple for our Nirvana Day Service on February 11, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. As the Buddha approached the end of his life, he settled on a spot between twin sāla trees in a grove on the edge of the city of Kuśinagara in northern India to spend his last days in this world.

At that time, the Buddha’s disciple and constant companion Ānanda asked for specific guidance regarding how the Buddha’s remains should be venerated. The Buddha’s initial response is that wise householders will see to the veneration of his remains, so Ānanda and the other monastic disciples should remain focused on the goal of realizing awakening. Out of kind concern for the faithful householders, Ānanda humbly solicited guidance for those who would venerate the Buddha’s remains after he had departed from this world. The Buddha proceeded to give clear and detailed instructions regarding how the remains should be cremated according to the customs for royal funerals and placed in a suitable monument for veneration.

After hearing these instructions, Ānanda must have been powerfully struck by the realization that the Buddha would indeed pass from this world in the coming days because he is said to have gone off to a dwelling where he stood weeping and lamented, “I am still only a learner whose task has yet to be completed. My teacher is about to attain final Nibbāna (Nirvana)—my teacher who has compassion on me!”

When the Buddha learned of his grief, he summoned Ānanda and instructed him, saying:

“Enough, Ānanda, do not sorrow, do not lament. Have I not already repeatedly told you that there is separation and parting and division from all that is dear and beloved? How could it be that what is born, come to being, formed, and bound to fall should not fall? That is not possible. Ānanda, you have long and consistently attended on the Perfect One with bodily acts of loving-kindness, helpfully, gladly, sincerely and without reserve; and so too with verbal acts and mental acts. You have made merit, Ānanda. Keep on endeavoring and you will soon be free from taints.” (The Life of the Buddha by Bhikkhu Ñānamoli, p. 318)

Having offered Ānanda these words of comfort, the Buddha goes on to praise his dedication to ensuring that all people, bhikkhus, bhikkhunīs, lay men and women, kings and commoners, and even followers of non-Buddhist teachings, are given the opportunity to hear the Dharma and receive instruction from the Buddha.

With this, Ānanda recognized his sacred duty and set out to encourage the local people to visit the Buddha in his last hour, so that they would not miss the rare and precious opportunity to see him before he passed from this world. To accommodate the vast assembly of devotees who flocked to the grove where Buddha was preparing to enter parinirvana, Ānanda instructed each clan to send one representative to receive the teachings and pay their respects to the Buddha. Despite his own grief, Ānanda continued his dedicated service to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

I find that among the Buddha’s disciples, I can most easily relate to Ānanda. While the Buddha’s fully enlightened disciples remain calm and composed, Ānanda is distraught at the prospect of parting from his teacher. It is in the Buddha’s conversations with Ānanda that we find the following precious teachings addressed to those, who like Ānanda at the time, have yet to realize full awakening:

“Ānanda, you may think: ‘The word of the Teacher is a thing of the past; now we have no more Teacher.’ But you should not regard it so. The Dhamma and Discipline taught by me and laid down for you are your Teacher after I am gone.”

(Ñānamoli, p. 323)

On another occasion, the Buddha offers the following guidance to those who would continue their journey on the path to awakening after he had departed from this world:

“. . . Ānanda, each of you should make himself his island, himself and no other his refuge; each of you should make the Dhamma his island, the Dhamma and no other his refuge. How does a bhikkhu do that? Here a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as body . . . contemplating feelings as feelings . . . contemplating consciousness as consciousness . . . mental objects as mental objects, ardent, fully aware, mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.” (Ñānamoli, p. 300)

The diverse Buddhist traditions in our world today all hold to these core principles, encouraging seekers of the Dharma to live with deep self-awareness illuminated by the light of wisdom, and to turn away from greed and stress about worldly matters.  In the following passage from a letter written by Shinran Shonin, he describes how the truth of this wisdom comes to be reflected in a life that is settled in the Nembutsu of deep entrusting: “Signs of long years of saying the nembutsu and aspiring for birth [in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha] can be seen in the change in the heart that had been bad and in the deep warmth for friends and fellow-practicers; this is the sign of rejecting the world.” (Collected Works of Shinran, p. 551)

 

Namo Amida Butsu