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釋迦牟尼佛(Sakyamuni)
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臺南市北區開元寺釋迦牟尼佛(陳美華攝)

民間一般簡稱「佛祖」、「佛陀」、「釋迦佛」,釋迦牟尼是梵語Sakyamuni 的音譯,釋迦是他的俗姓,牟尼意思為能仁、能文、忍的意思,原意大致表示出身釋迦族的聖人。釋迦牟尼是佛教的創教者,誕生於公元前500年左右,印度迦毗羅衛國淨飯王之子,名喬達摩.悉達多。悉達多29歲時,感於人生無法免除生、老、病、死之苦,於是遠離王宮,剃去鬚髮,追隨當時流行印度的各種修行宗教領袖。經過6年苦行後他放棄這類修行方法,且離開來自皇宮的追隨者,獨自到菩提伽的菩提樹下靜坐冥想,在49天的過程中通過魔王的誘惑,終於夜睹明星悟道,成為覺者,也就是佛陀。成道後的佛陀創立教團,在印度北部諸國宣揚他所理解的道理,總共傳教49年,最後在拘尸那揭羅城過世,佛教稱之為「大涅槃」。釋迦牟尼佛傳入中國後,其生平最早以《佛所行讚》等詩歌傳世。隨著譯出的佛經日益增加,也有佛的前世故事,即本生故事流傳,藉由佛的前世傳達佛教的輪廻、行善止惡等觀念。
不論在印度或亞洲其它佛教流行的地區,佛教都有人格、神格、哲學形而上的不同面向。在僧侶或學者的探討裡,經常強調佛陀的人格,甚至由於宗教哲學的發展,也產生本體或形而上的相關論述,不論前述何者,皆排除他的異能神通等層面。另一方面,由於佛陀是佛教的創教者,在中國的一般大眾心目中就有著「至高神」的地位,他離欲苦行修道的形象,也就造成一般人比較少向釋迦牟尼佛祈求世間各種福祉。結果是佛陀成為眾所週知的佛教創教者,卻不是佛教信仰者經常思慮及或崇敬的對象。
另一方面,由於佛教傳入中國與道教有著宗教競爭的關係,佛道教內部一度也以《老子化胡經》等經典將佛陀中國化,一方面將佛陀神仙化,一方面也將佛陀轉化成中國熟悉的神仙內容。佛陀變成中國神仙最具體的成果即是將孫悟空壓在五指山下的西天如來。此外,這個意像近年來甚至變成「如來神掌」的通俗文化。至於佛教本身重塑釋迦牟尼佛形象主要有兩個層面,一是強調佛陀作為教育家,一是強調佛陀的醫王角色。從這些發展中也能看到佛陀雖然不是大眾祈求的主要神祗,卻是詮釋佛教的重要槓桿。
一般大眾的宗教生活與釋迦牟尼佛相關者,儀式有每年四月八日的浴佛節,佛教徒或偏向佛教信仰者也會到佛寺浴佛祈福;禁忌上是不能用水果釋迦來供神。此外,臘八粥也和佛陀成道有關,因為農曆十二月初八是佛陀成道日,佛門會在這天煮臘八粥供佛分送善信,以紀念牧羊女供養佛陀米粥,使他恢復體力後於十二月初八成道。全台灣除了較具歷史的佛寺,如台南開元寺、彌陀寺、彰化南山寺、大佛、台北中和圓通寺等以釋迦牟尼佛為主祀者外。台灣各山頭及出家人主持的寺院也都以釋迦牟尼佛為主祀。


屏東縣南州鄉彌陀寺釋迦牟尼佛(廖吟梅攝)
關鍵詞:佛陀、佛祖、釋迦牟尼、臘八粥

Shijia mouni fo (釋迦牟尼佛), is transliterated from the Sanskrit term, Sakyamuni, Buddha, the awakened one. Regarding to the understanding of Chinese Buddhist, Shijia, Sakya is his surname and muni means mercy and patient. Sakyamuni was the founder of Buddhism. He was born 2500 years ago in India. He was the single son of King Suddhodana and the prince of the kindom Kapilavastu. When he was twenty nine years old, he left for forest and devoting himself to practicing all kind of yoga. He was desperated to escape from the endless rebirth, samsara, which is the popular belief in India. After his six years in ascetic life, he abandoned the strict restricting with his diet which almost made him starving. He meditated under a bodhi tree for forty nine days. Finally, he was enlightened. He began to mission his teaching and established his mission group, the Sanga, Buddhist monastic group. After forty nine years, he was into mahaparinirvana, the final deathless state.
Sakyamuni, as the founder of Buddhism was introduced into China accompanied with Buddhism. His imgae has two aspects. One is philosophical and another is like the highest god in Chinese Buddhism. Regarding to the Buddhist scriptures, Buddha is an enlightend teacher who preaches the way to avoid rebirth and suffering. Because his position is too high to approach, people are seldom to pray him for the blessing of daily events. However, Sakyamuni as a stand point in the explaination of Buddhism is still important. Today, he is depicted as a powerful medical doctor and a wise educator in Taiwan.
In the popular culture and Daoism, Sakyamuni is regarding as god or like a Daoist immoral. At first, because of the competition between Buddhism and Daoism, Sakyamuni was depicted as an avatar of Laozi. In the novel, the Journey to the West (西遊記), Sakyamuni is an immortal like figure coming from west to gather the Monkey into his fist. This image later was transformed as a part of Wuxia xiaoshuo (武俠小説), a Chinese genre which is in relation with martical artist.
  There are some daily occasions in relation with Sakyamuni in Taiwan. On April, eighth, in Chinese lunar calendar, Sakyamuni’s birthday, people go to the Buddhist temple to bath the statue of baby Sakyamuni for celebrating and blessing. On December, eighth, the day Sakyamuni got enlightened, in the Buddhist temples, the laba porridge (臘八粥) are prepared and served. It is a celebrating for that Sakyamuni accpted a shepherdess’s milk porridge as an offering. The Sakyamuni was nourished and enlightened. There is also a taboo about Sakyamuni. Offering sugar apple to god or Buddha is inappropriate. Because the name of sugar apple is a homonyms term with Shijia, the abbreviated name of Sakyamuni in Taiwan.
        Almost of the Buddhist temples in Taiwan is dedicated to Sakyamuni, no matter whom Buddhist school they belongs to.
 
關鍵詞:佛陀、佛祖、釋迦牟尼、臘八粥
 
Keywords: Buddha, Sakyamuni, laba porridge
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