【編者的話】分別心

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1998 / 10月

文‧陳雅玲



在國內募款一向一呼百應的慈濟功德會,最近在大陸長江水患賑災的募捐行動上,卻遭逢內部極大的反彈聲浪。許多人認為,過去可以毫不猶豫捐錢給大陸,但是經過中共飛彈試射的武力威脅,以及接二連三的台商遇害事件後,台灣人對大陸的民族感情已經消彌無形,「為什麼要拿錢去捐給對我們不友善的人?」

但是證嚴法師卻認為,不應該把政權與人民混為一談,救災濟苦,不宜有分別心,所以大陸賑災是一定要做的。

不起「分別心」,道理簡單,一般人卻是最難做到。

人有貧富貴賤,智愚賢不肖,還有最基本的──男女之別。為了嚴男女之防,在家庭裡、社會上、歷史中,女性常處於受保護、壓抑,甚至歧視的境況。即使現代法律逐漸落實男女平等,但在現實生活中,女性獨立自主過活仍不免遭逢許多困境。(見「單飛──女人造家困境」一文)

再看人與動物之間:天鵝、蝴蝶為人所愛,癩蝦蟆、毛毛蟲為人所厭。每每讚嘆於蝴蝶翩翩起舞的人們,今年夏天因毛毛蟲大軍壓境啃光校園、苗圃大樹而驚惶失措,火攻水澆,除之而後快。(見「是誰惹的禍?──毛毛蟲大反撲」)但是,任誰都知道蝴蝶是毛毛蟲變的,為什麼還有那麼大的分別心呢?

比美與醜更難以突破的,可能是「生」與「死」的分別心。人都歌頌生命、避諱死亡。但是西哲有言:「人生,是向死的存在」;思考死亡就是思考生命,「唯有藉著關照死亡,才能讓我們更有智慧、有力量去承擔生命的責任。」(見「未知死,焉知生?──預立遺囑」專題)

其實,人類一直在人為地強化「分別心」,從外表到內在,從民族到政權,從敵到我。(見「尋找內在的仙杜芮拉──台灣服裝設計二怞~」,以及封面故事「衝突與和平之間──台海新情勢」)

然而「柯江會談」後,整個世界由過去的冷戰,走向裁軍、和平共處。過去兩岸之間在軍事、外交上較勁,如今也要坐下來尋求更好的解決之道。我國國軍精實案,就是以最少的軍力,確保台澎金馬的安全。在這樣的基礎上,如同陸委會副主委林中斌所言:「當兩岸長遠利益皆能契合,對談判議題的看法漸有交集時,台海問題便能逐漸平緩。」

分別心的反照是「平等無二」,然而只有不執無我的宗教家才能參透,眾生實難以泯除分別心。期待海峽彼岸能體認分別心的由來,一起追求兩岸共同相的到來。

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EN

[Editor's Note] Distinctions

Elaine Chen /tr. by Phil Newell


The Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation has always been very successful in raising funds for charitable purposes. But recently when it began soliciting donations to assist victims of flooding along the Yangzi River in mainland China, there was considerable resistance from within the organization. In the past many people donated money for mainland China unreservedly. But after the PRC's missile tests and other military threats, and numerous incidents of Taiwanese business people in the PRC being murdered or otherwise victimized, people in Taiwan have lost their sense of empathy with people in mainland China: "Why should I give money to people who are hostile to me?"

However, says Master Cheng Yen, head of Tzu Chi, we should not confuse regimes with the people who live under them. She argues that when it comes to disaster relief, people should not distinguish between "us" and "them."

It is easy to advise people not to make distinctions; it is difficult for them to abstain from doing so. People distinguish between rich and poor, wise and foolish, and, most fundamentally, between men and women. In family life, society, and history, women have been seen, at best, as "needing protection"; at worst, women have suffered repression and discrimination. Even though the laws of modern society increasingly recognize equality between men and women, in real life, single women on their own still face many difficulties. Find out more in the article "Single But Not Alone" in this issue.

Another distinction is between animals that humans find pleasant, like butterflies, and those we find annoying, like caterpillars. People who would wax poetic over the sublime beauty of a butterfly in flight have recently been alarmed by a spate of caterpillar invasions of school yards and gardens. People have attacked the caterpillars with fire and water. But of course everyone knows that butterflies come from caterpillars. Why do people make such an enormous distinction between the two? Find the answer in "The Caterpillars Strike Back."

An even more difficult distinction to cope with than the one between beauty and ugliness is that between life and death. People praise life, and studiously avoid the subject of death. Yet, as a western philosopher has said, life is simply "being-toward-death." To think about death is to think about life. It has been said that only by looking at death will we have the wisdom and power to shoulder our responsibilities in life. See "Where There's a Will."

An old joke has it that "there are two kinds of people, those who divide everything into two categories, and those who don't." We distinguish between surface appearance and internal content, as illustrated in the article "Twenty Years of Designer Fashions." And we distinguish between friend and enemy, "us" and "them," as shown in the article "War and Peace: Recent Military and Diplomatic Developments in the Taiwan Strait."

The post-Cold-War world is witnessing, in many places, peaceful coexistence and reductions in military strength. In the past, the ROC and PRC stood at odds in military and diplomatic affairs. Today the two sides are preparing to sit down to discuss better ways to resolve differences. The ROC's military modernization program is aimed at ensuring the security of Taiwan and its surrounding islands using the minimum of military force. On this foundation, as Lin Chong-pin, vice-chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, says, when the long-term interests of the ROC and PRC happen to be compatible, and as their views of suitable subjects for negotiation intersect, the Taiwan Strait problem will steadily improve.

The opposite of drawing distinctions is seeking commonality. Perhaps this is something only saintly people can succeed in doing thoroughly. For the great majority of us, it is almost impossible to eliminate the habit of drawing distinctions. We look forward to the two sides of the Taiwan Strait recognizing where these distinctions come from, and seeking common ground for the future.

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