The Origin of the World

The Origin of the World It is common for people who are exploring religion to ask questions regarding the origins of the world. Since time immemorial people have speculated about this question. Most religions will teach that the world was created by a Creator; – God. For many people, this seems to be satisfactory. However, if one seriously thinks about it, this answer is merely a placebo – something that does not have any real value other than to satisfy the incessant queries of a questioner. To say that the world started with a Creator God is no better than to say that the origin of yoghurt is milk, or the origin of a plant is the seed. Simplistic minds do not seem to have a need to see further back beyond that. The reason for this is that our mind is conditioned to see things in a linear manner; that is having a starting point and an end. This article has a start and an end, so is the table before you and so on. However, there are many, many things in this universe that have no beginning and no end. Look at the sky above you. It may seem like a blue or black sheet but it really goes on forever. It is the same with time – it has no beginning and no end. This is how Buddhists understand the origins of the world as taught by the Buddha.

It is interesting to note that the Buddha described events like how a universe forms in space. More interestingly, the Buddha’s explanations corresponds very closely to the scientific view. In the Aganna Sutta, the Buddha described the universe being destroyed and then re-evolving into its present form over a period of countless millions of years. The first life formed on the surface of the water and again, over countless millions of years evolved from simple into complex organisms. Eventually, the universe is again destroyed and another arises in its place. All these processes are without beginning or end, and are set in motion by natural causes. Our present universe merely occupies one slot in this beginning-less and endless sequence of time. Such explanations are a quantum leap away from the simplistic genesis stories of theistic religions and are indicative of the great insight and wisdom of the Buddha’s enlightened mind.

“Now there comes a time, Vasettha, when after a long period of time this world expands. When the world expands beings
for the most part fall from the realm of Radiance and come here; and they exist made of mind, feeding on joy, self-luminous, moving through the air, constantly beautiful; thus they remain for a long, long time. Now at that time, all had become one world of water dark, and of darkness that maketh blind. No moon nor sun appeared no stars were seen, nor constellations, neither was night manifest nor day, neither months nor half-months, neither years nor seasons, neither female nor male. Beings were reckoned just as beings only. And to those beings, Vasettha, sooner or later after a long time, earth with its savors was spread out in the waters. Even as a scum forms on the surface of boiled milky rice that is cooling, so did the earth appear. ~ Aganna Sutta”

Even so, questions regarding the origins of the world and such were not considered important by the Buddha and not made out to be a big deal as in other religions. In a famous story, a man called Malunkyaputta approached the Buddha and demanded that the Buddha explain the origin of the universe before he would become a disciple of the Buddha. Then the Buddha said that he would not go into a discussion of the origin of the Universe. To him, gaining knowledge about such matters was a waste of time because a man’s immediate problem was his own suffering and his task was to liberate himself from the present state of affairs. To illustrate this, the Buddha related the parable of a man who was shot by a poisoned arrow. This foolish man refused to have the arrow removed until he was told who shot the arrow, what he looks like, the kind of wood the arrow was made of and so on. The Buddha said that before the man could learn such information, he would be dead. Similarly, our immediate task is to be enlightened, not to speculate about the metaphysical. Thus, the Buddha’s teachings centre around mankind and emphasises the methods by which he can liberate himself. These teachings are encapsulated in the Four Noble Truths.

Buddhist Answers

佛

佛者,心也,空性是也,本质本心是也,能觉一切之本体,万物之源,亦名太极是也,何为太极?无极而太极,即没有极性、没有属性、没有色相、无生无灭的本质,故名为佛性,名为法身,名为真如,名为摩尼珠,名为如来藏,此佛身,非色身,非因缘身,非有漏之身,若是如此,谁人学佛?
如《大佛顶首楞严经》所言:七大即如来藏性·周遍法界,清净本然,本如来藏妙真如性,妙明真心,本非因缘,亦非自然性,无生,故不灭,我非虚无,此心非得,无从得处,故然不失,是本然存在。有者当有,无者当无,初有终有,初无终无,无中生有,有灭成无,皆是戏论,是动静法。
《金刚经》:离一切相,名为诸佛,即名为诸佛。离于外相,求证真心,才能成佛,离于形体。佛同虚空,不生不灭,本质是也,故人信服,有法可依,有理可遁,有行可修,有佛可成,不着相状,不着于人相、我相、众生相、寿者相,若着于相,即是非佛,着相即为所缚,何可名佛?何名生死解脱?何能让人信服?离相证心,如如不动,不生不灭,乃名成佛。
《大宝积经》卷八七:“无生者,非先有生,后说无生,本自不生,故名无生。因此,故【坛经】言:即心即佛,见性成佛,一切万法以心为本,离于本质本心,一切言说与取着,烦恼及生死,悉皆无所安立之处,如楼无基,如树无根,无有是处,此同虚无论、断灭见。
如来的智慧,就是妙明真心本来的清净,并因此而能够圆照整个宇宙一切。所以,真正的绝对唯心主义,其实就是唯质,而一切主观与客观的谈论,都是着著本质运动所产生的虚假表相,如同戏论,没有绝对定义可言,徙有其表。 是故,释伽牟尼在菩提树下睹明星而悟道,成佛后的第一句话是:“奇哉奇哉,一切众生,皆具如来智慧德相,但因妄想执着,不能证得。”本有真心,因不见着,妄取外物,终不可得,抱揽诸尘,攀缘成身,亦不得久,头外安头,终不可得。
虚空实无增减,世人之烦恼与生死,皆因颠倒取相妄想而有,如人在梦中,不死言死,不见自心,若见地狱,何名为死?此假相终不常不实不久,何以能取当为真?以为常法?乱立定义? 是故,金刚经中言:“若以色见我,以音声求我,是人行邪道,不能见如来。凡所有相,皆是虚妄。若见诸相非相,即见如来。”若识一切相无人无我,亦无我所有,即能明心见性,名为见如来,见心根本,见心本质,常而不坏,一切苦乐生死,皆唯自心所现,心却不坏。
又引《楞伽经》,以印众生心地,恐汝颠倒不信,此一心之法各各有之。故《楞伽经》以佛语心为宗,无门为法门。夫求法者,应无所求,心外无别佛,佛外无别心。不取善不舍恶,净秽两边俱不依怙,达罪性空念念不可得,无自性故。故三界唯心,森罗及万象,一法之所印。凡所见色,皆是见心,心不自心,因色故有。汝但随时言说,即事即理,都无所碍。菩提道果,亦复如是。于心所生,即名为色,知色空故,生即不生。若了此意,乃可随时着衣吃饭,长养圣胎,任运过时,更有何事。汝受吾教,听吾偈曰:“心地随时说,菩提俱亦宁。事理俱无碍,当生即不生。”
所以,佛并不是指某人,人是本质所暂时依住的现象,见到不生不灭的本质,并能回归的人,才叫佛,本质即为佛,本质若不是佛,佛的法力与智慧又从何得来?妄想所得?终不实际,佛就因有法力,才得以在乱世中称雄,而不像耶稣那样被人陷害。
若实无此心此质此体,一切人物,即同虚无,若从虚无中生,何觉何受?何乐何苦?何动何静?本质虽有,不以色见,本质虽小,不等于无。因心自迷,不见自心,故有妄动,因有妄动,故有现象,因有现象,故有世界,若能归心,得还本质,名为得佛,法力亦得,故佛说虚空,不说虚无,无有是处,天堂地狱,唯心所现,离心则无地狱,亦无能苦能受能得者,故创世论,即同虚无论,无中生有,此为外道戏论,戏不见心者。
认识自心的本质,才能真正认识全宇宙太空,空而不空,只是其本性没有妄动造作,暂无形相现象而已,空间本质,本来无相,如同空气,如同于水,即没有色相,乃至人相、我相、寿众相,寿者相,一切相,都是运动现象,现象无常,人即非常,非常者,即为不实,不实者,即非真实。,所以,依止于自心本质,才名为依住于真实,依住于佛、法、僧,名为成佛,离于虚妄攀缘之性,则能离身。
本质本身就是绝对的实在,所以世界会有质量守恒,能量守恒定律,若是如此,虚无即不存在,无中生有则是戏论,一切事物都只是本质的动静之相而已。所以,离于本质这个实在之外,怎么可能还有另一个真实的存在?水怎么可能容得下浪成为真实?水因会动,浪即不实,本质亦然,本质一动,万物不实,物尚不实,人亦不实,一切人与物皆非真实常在,所以无神,一切都基于本质,基于空间本身平等分散的结构。
整个宇宙空间,如同本质之海,星球万物,悉皆依止于空间本质而能运动、漂浮、承载,若太空是无,则人怎能呼吸?怎能在太空运动?是故,本质即是空间,空间即是本质,本质运动,名为时间,所以,时间与空间,不可分割,世界万物,都只是本质运动所暂时形成的现象而已,而不是真实,本质无色,一切色相都是运动所产生的虚幻影像,故把星球或物质看当宇宙,即为颠倒,如人只见云,而见不到整个天空,则如井蛙,目光狭隘,执迷表相,以为真实,却然不知,此实非实,因动而聚。
一切本质,本来没有形相,也不一定要住于形相,比如,沙子要住于楼才有自己吗?人取着于水,水就归自己所有了吗?它们本就不归自己所有,最终还会因动而归,人身亦是,故名四大皆空,无有绝对的自体、实体,即名无人无我,执着有我,就是众生无明颠倒,故有万物假相,如水执浪,如空执云,如种执树,如柴执火,以为自身,终不可得,此是因缘所生,缘起性空,从和合生,从攀缘生,非真实生,非绝对生,非神所生。所谓因缘生法者,即和合所成之动相是也,动聚静散,非有我也。
1.梵语“佛陀”,是对佛教创始人释迦牟尼的简称。广泛地说,也可指已经大彻大悟的修行人。由于佛教对中国文化的影响深远,有时也用带佛字的词语表示对人的尊敬,尤其是对方与信佛或与佛教有关时,如:~爷。借花献~。
智度论二曰:“佛陀秦言知者,有常无常等一切诸法,菩提树下了了觉知,故名佛陀。”同七十曰:“佛名为觉,于一切无明睡眠中最初觉故,名为觉。”法华文句一曰:“西竺言佛陀,此言觉者、知者,对迷名知,对愚名觉。”大乘义章二十末曰:“佛者就德以立其名,佛是觉知,就斯立称。觉有两义:一觉察,名觉,如人觉贼。二觉悟,名觉,如人睡寤。觉察之觉对烦恼障,烦恼侵害事等如贼,唯圣觉知不为其害,故名为觉。涅槃云:如人觉贼,贼无能为,佛亦如是。觉悟之觉对其知障,无明昏寝事等如睡,圣慧一起,朗然大悟,如睡得寤,故名为觉。既能自觉,复能觉他。觉行穷满,故名为佛。
2.指“佛教”(世界主要宗教之一):~家。~寺。~老。~经。~龛。~事(佛教徒诵经、祈祷及供奉佛像等活动)。

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