學員心得

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Cara Berman

" alt="Cara Berman" trigclass="noarrow" tag="center"]

我發現數息對靜坐很有幫助。當我把姿勢調整好,把心往內收後,我開始覺知呼吸。呼吸是生活中最自然的動作,我們一直在呼吸,卻沒有覺察到氣息在體內流動。當我專注於數息時,我能回到當下,將注意力拉回到身體,覺知身體的感覺,以及平常沒注意到的緊張或壓力。

當我的姿勢安定了,也注意到呼吸了,我開始覺察到我的念頭。我的腦海喜歡把這一天的事歸類,分成已經做完或還沒做的事兩大類。但遲早總會發現自己忘了數息,便又回到數息。通常接下來會起的念頭,便是對已經過去的事件生起情緒或是預期未來,例如這週因吵架而生氣等;當情緒威脅到我的靜坐時,我認清它只是另一個念頭,然後注意力再回到呼吸上。

我了解到我的念頭不代表「我」。我的真正本質是我的覺性,而我能在念頭跟念頭之間察覺到覺性。這對西方人來說是一個很陌生的觀念,但是我在靜坐數息時可以體會到。念頭好比是一個籠子,覺性則能打開籠門,讓自己重獲自由。念頭,讓我們對生命的認知變得狹隘,讓我們在面臨考驗時,很容易感到挫敗及無力去改變命運。靜坐能讓我們體證人人本具的那份力量,進而用不同的角度,以慈悲及勇氣看待生命。

對我而言,修習數息觀最重要的改變就是我對別人的批判減少了,也更容易覺察到自己對事情的制約反應,能夠覺察並覺照到我的自我防衛心,並了解到我可以作情緒的主人,而不是被情緒所控制。有時候需要一段時間覺性才會現前,但比以前好多了。

修習數息觀及到佛寶寺上禪修班,為我打開了一扇覺性的門,讓我瞥見每一剎那本具的自由及喜悅。很感恩有機會在佛寶寺學習靜坐!

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Steve Williamson

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吸氣、吐氣、吸氣、吐氣。

這八個月來,隨著一呼一吸的觀息,讓過去五十五年來所稱為「我」的這念心,微觀地改變了原有的軌道。就像許多初學者一樣,我也在尋求著新的事物,卻發覺自己反而漸漸在失去舊有的東西:舊的習氣、舊的染著、舊的期待。

這個改變真的很細微,細微到我會反問自己:「剛剝落的這一小塊,是我珍貴的自尊,還是自我的角?」有時候,要瞇著眼仔細看,才能看得出進步。儘管如此,還是很高興能重新發現,那個藏在表相之下更清明、更慈悲的本性依然存在──隱藏的自家珍寶。或許,別人還沒有察覺,但它是真實的。

一次又一次地回到當下,再回到當下、再回到當下。觀息這條路,對我這個西方人的心而言,充滿了挑戰──這念心太習慣重溫過去或預設未來。但將心念收回,依止在出入息的同時,我心中充滿了感恩,也發起了三種疑情::

  • 這個能觀息的「我」是誰?
  • 我如何才能更柔軟、更慈悲?
  • 什麼才是「正命」?

有時候,感恩回答了一切──感恩有機會能探索真理及心性;感恩在這麼一個種族、經濟、宗教多元的地方,有佛寶寺的成立;感恩法師的教導,以及精舍學員們的分享;感恩佛陀。

我還是初學者,能分享的心得不多。但在修行的路上,有三件事對我很有幫助:第一,我每天會寫觀照日記。即使遇到阻礙,我仍會堅持,因為每篇記錄都能令人想起專注當下的珍貴。

第二,每天靜坐兩次。第二次是在公司,十到二十分鐘,讓我從繁忙的工作中冷靜下來。第三,走路上下班時也盡量觀息:吸吸吸、呼呼呼,三步一吸氣,三步一呼氣。

觀息使我的心航向新的時空軌道,相較於八個月前,更能安住在當下。大多時候我獨自靜坐,但也喜歡和別人一起靜坐,或是在佛寶寺和師兄弟,或是在家裡和妻子一起。因為我相信我並非獨立存在,這個能觀息的「我」和其他生命是緊緊相繫的,這正是我一直以來深深覺察的。

吸氣、吐氣、吸氣、吐氣。

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Devi Acosta

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I hardly ever came to the temple but on December—when I was struggling with remorse of something shameful I did—I felt a calling to go to the monastery. I asked my mom if I could go with her and volunteer. And ever since then, I started cleaning weekly on Saturdays and became more involved by taking classes on Mondays. My old wisdom has been refreshed but what has truly changed me is by becoming a vegetarian and “re-learning” kindness and compassion all over again and practicing it.

The thought of becoming a vegetarian was from watching a documentary movie but what really helped me put my feet firmly on the ground was when I came to the realization that eating meat is eating a living being. And animal with a life and spirit, virtues and misdeeds, just like us. And who knows—they could have been our parents in our last life! And after about four weeks of going vegetarian, I am determined and keep saying “no” to meat.

Another thing that changed me is remembering kindness and compassion. I have already known about it but I had forgotten it. For a while, my kindness and compassion had been limited to a certain amount of people and things. But now my kindness has increased to almost anyone—good or bad—who crosses my path. Sometimes even my enemies.

But the thing that changed me the most was putting all of my knowledge into practice. “Knowledge is knowing but wisdom is doing it.” And ever since I have attended the monastery, I have been putting my knowledge into practice. I have become less stingy with money and more generous. I have constantly donated wholeheartedly to the temple—even if it is just two dollars, I still give because I know that I owe the temple so much—much more than two dollars. Every dollar counts but what really counts is the good feeling of giving. And that is the same feeling I get when I give money to friends or relatives when they ask me for it.

There is so much for me to learn but I have learned so much already—ever since I started coming here to the temple. I am deeply grateful for helping me cope with my troubles, reviving my old wisdom and changing me so much in just three months.

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唐秀燕(傳晏)

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深心感動因緣的不可思議。在偶然的機會遇見佛寶寺的幾位師父,成就了我真正踏入佛門開始禪修的因緣。從前只知在事上修持、誦經、拜懺,依然不減妄想、我執、我慢的習氣。2009年元月進入精舍,依照法師們安排的課程,經過一年循序漸進地薰修法理,對於因緣果報絲毫不假的道理更有所領會,一切善業、惡業皆從心中產生出來,也就是我們的貪、瞋、癡三毒所招感而來。回想兩年多前入加護病房到親人的往生,得到不少啟發,世間無常,生命只在呼吸間,所謂病由業生,一口氣不來,萬般帶不去,唯有業隨身,更應用短暫的色身精進用功。想到今生有緣生而為人,具備修行能力,又有機會遇善知識,得以聽聞佛法,心中即充滿無盡的感恩,故成就佛道是我生生世世的功課。[/expand]
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Hector A Acosta

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This is my first year being the member of the Buddha Jewel monastery, I give thank to Buddha Dharma because it helps me a lot in my life.

To me, being a Buddhist practitioner is a real challenge. Because I have to accept all the responsibility of all wrong actions I made in my life. But something that makes me happy is all the teaching I receive from those excellent masters and teachers let me understand the Buddha way and my direction.

I know if I study the Dharma and do more practices, I will pay my Karma debts which are the sufferings I brought to many sentient beings and myself.

I also know that I have to do my homework every day and work hard on my practices to obtain my illumination – Buddha nature. By doing so, I can find all the answers to solve my problems.

I would like to give thanks to all masters and teachers for all the methods and the Dharmas we received.

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Judy Cole

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I came to Buddha Jewel Monastery since last April.

I found out that I am happier and have more confidence about myself now. I also did things that I could never do before. I actually designed my own kitchen and the price is way below budget. I was a little afraid of quietness before, now I love the quietness. I also do less shopping then before, only buy the thing I need and accumulate much less garbage. I no longer point my finger to other person instead I point it to myself most of time.

The classes are just awesome. They really help me to look at things differently. The teachers are absolutely wonderful and I do believe they are the best in the world.

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Ben McDonald

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We are blessed to have the Buddha Jewel Monastery in Seattle. I have tremendous gratitude for the Shifus who traveled half-way around the world for our benefit.

Before attending the meditation and Zen classes, I practiced mindfulness without knowing that it was a Zen practice or even Buddhist one. The classes at Buddha Jewel validated and helped refine many of my beliefs and practices through verbal instruction and meditation.

The Dharma lectures are deep but they are taught to our western culture. The meditation retreats are a special opportunity that I take advantage of as often as possible. I have learned so much about myself and others.

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Maria Ponce Acosta

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In a short period of time being at Buddha Jewel Monastery my life and family have been blessed. To come to study and have access to the Sutras has been and is the major Treasure received in this lifetime, and for that I will never get tire to thank you all. All the Shifus in this monastery really deserve the title of Children of Sakyamuni Buddha. Because with great compassion, tolerance, hard work and skills, share and explain the teachings so clear like pure drinking water when we are thirsty. They are humble and loving, they are true Buddhists. And if they resemble the whole Sangha and in this way also the Grand Master, and the Grand Master the Buddha I sure want to be like you, bringing hope, care, love, etc. to sentient beings, until the ultimate enlightenment. Thanks to coming to Buddha Jewel I have learn the importance to study the Dharma to put an end to so much ignorance, so let me list the following:

How unnecessary we engage in wrong actions that bring terrible consequences. We create our own Karma.
The Noble Eightfold Path
The Six Paramitas
The importance of stop eating meat, to stop wars, to stop the cyclic of enmity and wars, for compassion toward others and stop global warming.
The Great Surangama Sutra. When I pronounced the mantra, the second time the craving of eating meat was eradicated from my mind.
How to live in harmony with society and the world.
The power of meditation
Certainly my life and family has been transform toward the Dharma for all of this and what the next blessings I will always be thankful. [/expand]

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Sandy McDonald

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My personal experience after discovering Buddha Jewel and Buddhism

For many years, I had a Buddha statue and read many books on Buddhism. Until I stepped into The Buddha Jewel Monastery those were just nice words I’ve read. I experienced what it was like to practice Buddhism directly from the masters.

From the outside some may say this has been the worst year of my life, lost my business, home, many jobs. Many family members got gravely ill, and many other hardships. I was luckily given the tools to deal with everything from a Buddhist perspective. There is no bad. For me I believe this was the best year of my life, I went on a pilgrimage to Taiwan, participated in a seven day retreat, and studied many profound teachings of the Buddha. As a result, I look forward to simple living, everything is a lesson in attachment and impermanence.

I have been volunteering at the monastery for awhile and I am surprised that there aren’t many more people signing up to do this. I have one on one time with the masters; therefore I learn a lot about the Dharma and the practice, this is very helpful in addition to a weekly class. I am very grateful for discovering the monastery so close to my home and have introduced many of my friends to the classes and events.

I often wonder why the restaurants and the bars are crowded and the Dharma classes have only a few people. I understand why it is called a jewel now; precious and rare to encounter. I think with all of the work put into the Buddha Jewel and its events and classes more and more people from the nearby neighborhoods will examine their life and turn to the monastery for guidance.

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