Home » Features » [E] How Is The Monastic Community Destroyed In The Dharma-Ending Age? 僧团如何在末法时期被破坏?

吾涅槃后法欲灭时,
五逆浊世魔道兴盛。

– 释迦牟尼佛
《佛说法灭尽经》

After my Parinirvāṇa, when the Dharma is about to end,
in this Five Heinous Transgressions’
and Five Defilements’ Evil Age,
demonic paths will flourish.

– Śākyamuni Buddha
(Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of The Dharma’s Complete End)

According to the Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of The Dharma’s Complete End《佛说法灭尽经》, Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) taught that the following will happen to the monastic community as this Dharma-Ending Age (末法时期) proceeds on through the coming years.

「 魔作沙门坏乱吾道,著俗衣裳乐好袈裟五色之服。」‘Demons will become “Śramaṇas” to ruin and confuse my path [taught], wearing secular clothes, with fond delight for kaṣāya [robes] of five colours.’ Note [1]: Some ‘Buddhist monastics’ switch to lay clothes secretly, to disguise themselves while conducting themselves in non-monastic ways. Some switch to lay clothes openly, claiming it is alright, when there are rules against this. Some wear increasingly fanciful ‘robes’ out of vanity, instead of remaining plain, as meant to, for ascetic simplicity.

「饮酒啖肉杀生贪味,无有慈心更相憎嫉。」‘Drinking alcohol, eating meat, and killing sentient beings with greed for their taste, without having the mind of loving-kindness, even being jealous of one another.’ Note [2]: Some ‘monastics’ who do not seek alms food eat meat, (thus creating demand for supply of killed animals), and drink alcohol, the latter of which breaks even the Fifth Precept for laypeople. Intoxication leads to loss of mindfulness for observing all the other precepts.

「时有菩萨辟支罗汉,精进修德一切敬待,人所宗向教化平等。怜贫念老鞠育穷厄,恒以经像令人奉事。作诸功德志性恩善,不侵害人捐身济物,不自惜己忍辱仁和。设有是人,众魔比丘咸共嫉之诽谤扬恶,摈黜驱遣不令得住,自共于后不修道德。」‘At that time, there are Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas and Arhats, diligently cultivating virtues, with all respectfully received, of people who revere and are inclined towards them, they are taught and transformed equally. With empathy for the poor and mindfulness of the old, nourishing and educating those with poverty and adversities, constantly with sūtras and [Buddhist] images, enabling these people to worship. Creating much meritorious virtues, with disposition for kindness and goodness, not encroaching on people, contributing their bodies for helping people, not with self-cherishing of oneself, with patience, benevolence and harmony. Supposing there are these people, many demonic “Bhikṣus” all together will be jealous of them, slandering, propagating “evil” about them, rejecting, dismissing and driving them away, to not be able to attain dwelling, personally together after, not cultivating the path’s virtues.’ Note [3]: The Buddhist community can only be torn apart by those who manifest within as ‘proper’ Buddhists, who create schism to break it up inside out, often with false accusations of truly proper Buddhists. while they themselves are the improper ones.

「寺庙空荒无复修理转就毁坏,但贪财物积聚不散不作福德。」‘Monasteries will be empty and desolated, without being restored and managed, in turn then damaged. However, with greed for money and goods gathered together, yet not spreading [to share them], and not for creating blessed virtues.’ Note [4]: This is when those in charge of ‘monasteries’ become rich and powerful, while not caring for the actual monasteries, or their devotees, both spiritually and materially – not offering help when needed.

「贩卖奴婢耕田种植,焚烧山林伤害众生无有慈心。奴为比丘,婢为比丘尼。无有道德,婬妷浊乱,男女不别。令道薄淡皆由斯辈。」‘Selling slave servants for tilling fields and growing crops, burning mountains and forests, harming sentient beings, without having the mind of loving-kindness. These slaves will be “Bhikṣus”, and these servants will be “Bhikṣuṇīs”, without having the path’s virtues, lasciviously indulgent, corrupted and disorderly, with males and females without differentiation. Enabling of the path to be slighted and weakened, is all due to this kind of persons.’ Note [5]: Spiritual corruption begins from not observing the precepts well. Even laypeople are not supposed to trade in slavery, as taught by the Buddha to be of Wrong Livelihood, what more for monastics. Destroying of vegetation, especially of much is also wrong, if for no good reason. Monastics are not supposed to have any sexual conduct, what more to indulge in them.

「或避县官依倚吾道,求作沙门不修戒律。」‘Perhaps for avoiding county officials, “relying” upon my path, seeking to become “Śramaṇas”, yet not cultivating precepts and rules.’ Note [6]: This is how those without the pure motivation to even observe the precepts, who pretend to do so, might enter to begin corrupting a spiritual community.「月半月尽虽名诵戒,厌倦懈怠不欲听闻。」‘At each month’s half-month, although in name reciting the precepts, weary and lazy, not desiring to listen and learn about them.’ Note [7]: Such is going through motion, without really being mindful of the precepts to check themselves. Without strict adherence to the precepts as foundation, there is already corruption at the base, with no true spiritual progress possible.

Note [8]: The Bodhisattva Precepts (菩萨戒) are to be recited twice monthly by monastics and laypersons walking the Bodhisattva path. As the 48th and aptly last secondary Bodhisattva precept in the Brahmā Net Sūtra《梵网经》, the Buddha most seriously reminded his disciples that ‘similar to worms inside a lion’s body, themselves eating the lion’s flesh, not by other worms outside, thus are the Buddha’s “disciples” who self-destroy the Buddhadharma [i.e. Buddha’s teachings], which external paths and celestial demons [that deviate from the Buddhadharma] are not able to destroy. If having received the Buddha’s [Bodhisattva] precepts, they should protect the Buddha’s precepts [by upholding them well], similar to being mindful of one’s only child, similar to serving one’s Father and Mother, they must not intentionally break them.’「如师子身中虫,自食师子肉,非余外虫。如是佛子自破佛法,非外道天魔能破。若受佛戒者,应护佛戒,如念一子,如事父母,不可毁破。」This sums up how very important and precious the precepts are.

「抄略前后不肯尽说,经不诵习。」‘Copying approximately that before and after, not willing to completely speak them, of sūtras not reciting and practising [accordingly].’ Note [9]: This is to not learn the Buddha’s teachings systematically and comprehensively for proper practice.「设有读者不识字句,为强言是,不谘明者贡高求名,虚显雅步以为荣冀望人供养。」‘Supposing there are those who read them, but they do not know the meaning of their words and lines. Yet for forcibly saying what is [assumed], not consulting wise ones, for arrogantly seeking fame, [speaking wrongly]. They will falsely display “elegant” steps [in reply] for glory, hoping for people’s offerings.’ Note [10]: Such ‘elegance’ might seem calm and peaceful, while not being aligned with the actual Dharma. To pridefully misrepresent scriptural teachings, for selfish gain, while possibly harming others with sharing of wrong interpretations is triply wrong. This is how the otherwise Right Dharma (正法) gets increasingly corrupted.

众魔比丘命终之后,
精神当堕无择地狱,
五逆罪中。

– 释迦牟尼佛
《佛说法灭尽经》

After these many demonic ‘Bhikṣus’ lives end,
their consciousnesses will fall into uninterrupted hells,
for those with the Five Heinous Transgressions within.

– Śākyamuni Buddha
(Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of The Dharma’s Complete End)

Related Articles:

《佛说法灭尽经》
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https://purelanders.com/2019/06/10/sutra-in-which-the-buddha-speaks-of-the-dharmas-complete-end

Can Buddhist Monastics Change To Lay Clothes?
http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2015/11/can-buddhist-monastics-change-to-lay-clothes

Are All In ‘Monastic’ Robes Beyond Question?
https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2017/06/are-all-in-monastic-robes-beyond-question

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https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2016/05/you-animals-and-the-buddha

上求佛道者应当如何饮食?(大乘净素)
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(Mahāyāna Veganism, or Maha-Veganism in short)
https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2016/10/how-should-all-aspiring-for-buddhahood-eat-and-drink

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https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2016/08/why-avoidance-of-alcohol-is-so-important

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https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2014/09/did-jigong-urge-meat-eating-wine-drinking

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https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2013/10/do-you-protect-or-endanger-the-lion

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