文/蓮生活佛盧勝彥

顯教皈依有三,乃皈依佛、皈依法、皈依僧。皈依乃是身心歸投依止三寶的意思。佛、法、僧三寶正是諸佛、正法、聖僧。即依佛法修持,復顯本具佛性。
密教在三皈依之上,又加上皈依金剛上師,就變成「四皈依」。我們唸四皈依咒:南摩古魯貝。南摩不達耶。南摩達摩耶。南摩僧伽耶。
密教認為,金剛上師放在佛、法、僧之上,是為了使修密學人,了解密法唯有上師傳授才可以,學密非上師不可,是最重要的根本。另外,上師之身,即表徵佛陀住世,上師之口即表徵佛陀說法,上師之意,即表徵佛陀自性清淨,這正是金剛上師統攝佛法僧三寶也。
密教亦有六皈依,這六皈依是四皈依之外,再加上皈依根本本尊與皈依根本護法。
我們曉得,上師、本尊、護法是密教修行的三根本。
「上師」是加持根本。
「本尊」是成就根本。
「護法」是事業根本。
原則上,修持密教,如果沒有根本上師的心要口訣,給密教行者加持引導,密法如何入?
如果沒有根本本尊之威德法流灌頂,密教行者如何能入諸佛祕密,如何能相應?
如果沒有根本護法的日夜守護密教行者,行者早已被魔入侵,成了天魔的點心,或走火入魔了!
這三根本仍然以「上師」為最重要。
因為,「本尊」與「護法」是「上師」授與,才如法去修持的。


The Fourfold and Sixfold Refuge

Written by Lian-shen Linving Buddha Sheng-yen Lu
Translated by Cheng Yew Chung edited by Victor Hazen
True Buddha Foundation Translation Team

 When taking refuge, the Sutric system practices the threefold refuge, in which one takes refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The act of taking refuge is the offering of one’s body and mind to follow the Triple Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, which represent all buddhas, the right Dharma, and the holy Sangha. Thus, one cultivates according to the Buddhadharma and realizes one’s inherent Buddha Nature.
 In Tantric Buddhism, taking refuge with the Vajra Master is added to the Threefold Refuge, which then becomes the Fourfold Refuge. We thus recite the Fourfold Refuge Mantra: Namo Gurubei. Namo Buddhaya. Namo Dharmaya. Namo Sanghaya.
 Tantric Buddhism places the Vajra Master before the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha so as to educate the Tantric practitioner that only the Guru can transmit the Tantric doctrines, and the Guru is indispensable when it comes to studying Tantric Buddhism. Hence the Guru is the most important root of spirituality. The body of the Guru symbolizes the Buddha Himself remaining on earth. The speech of the Guru symbolizes the Buddha expounding the Dharma. The mind of the Guru symbolizes the pure Self Nature of the Buddha. This is the reason why the Vajra Master is the embodiment of the Triple Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
 There is also the Sixfold Refuge in Tantric Buddhism. This is built upon the Fourfold Refuge and includes taking refuge in the root principal deity and the root protector(dakini).
 We do know that the Guru, the principal deity and the protector form the Three Roots. The guru is the root of blessings, the deity is the root of accomplishments, and the protector is the root of activities.
 In principle, if one cultivates the Tantric teachings without the blessing and guidance of the heart essence and secret keys transmitted by the Root Guru, one will not know how to approach the system of Tantric practices. And without the mighty spiritual current of the root principal deity to empower the practitioner, how can he or she approach and enter into the secrets of all buddhas and receive union? Furthermore, without the constant protection offered to the Tantric practitioner by the root protector, he or she will be attacked and swallowed by the Mara demon, or will end up crazy
 Of these Three Roots, the Guru ranks as the most important. This is because the practitioner must first receive the transmission of his principal deity and protector from his guru before he or she can practice in agreement with the law.

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