退休往往被視為自由生活的開始、追尋休閒的機會。 修行者會將退休視為有更多時間認真修行的機會。從這角度看,退休是好事。但是,近年有關退休的討論,不管是在媒體上還是學術期刊上見到的,都為那些有幸得以享受工作生活的人描畫出更複雜的情景。當然,滿足感是因人而異的:有些人有幸能從工作體驗到自己的使命或事業,而其他人則僅僅意外地找到一份有趣味的工作。西方佛教倫理研究先驅 Damien Keown 則兩者兼備。他在倫敦大學金匠學院(Goldsmith’s University)當首任佛教倫理教授的終身任命固然是一番事業。可是, 2010 年他在香港大學一次講座中被問及為何以佛教研究為事業時,他打趣說,在花了那麼多年的時間去研究這門學科後,他再也沒有其他的選擇了,因為他已經沒有其他的專長了。

因此,有幸得以喜歡其工作的退休人士未必渴望見到其職業生涯最後的一天。即便不必憂慮經濟問題,他們也會失去職場上的群體、關係和歸屬。更嚴重的,是失去其「工作」身份。這身份在工業化社會中,大多數成年人都難免被現代文化強行加諸其身上。工作和生產力再也不僅僅提供經濟保障,而往往是創造我們那身份認同和生命意義的基礎。當然,從某些意義來說,將工作賦予意義是可以理解的,畢竟如今我們花在工作上比花在家庭上的時間,比過往任何時候都要多。

這裡有個危險的假設,就是以為人要活得豐盛或心安理得,就必須有工作可幹。有句話簡單地說:你的工作就是你。這話得到包括職場以外的很多公司在推銷誘人的產品時的和應。我們很多人都可以證實:「你做什麼工作?」往往是我們在晚餐會議或社交聚會上被人問及的問題。在別人面前,我們將自己做什麼工作與自己是什麼人混為一體了。這就意味著:我們的工作決定了我們是誰,而要是沒有工作的話,那就即便不至於毫無價值,也會變得沉悶不堪。

佛教以及其他偉大的宗教教導我們,在常人的期望以外,存在著真相。佛教要我們在追隨佛陀的足跡的同時,用慈悲和智慧去服務眾生。可是,這項追求悟道的宗教使命與為使生命有意義而去做某些事情有頗大的分別。從靈性的角度去看,我們的身份是流動的、不實在的,歸根結底是不真實的。然而,附加於工作的重複和慣性動作以及社會重要性,使工作成為了我們的「存在」的一項關鍵性的組成部分,導致我們難以將對身份認同的認識抽離於工作。

一般可行的建議包括:培養能安撫情緒、滋潤心智、強壯身體的興趣。參與公益活動和投身義務工作也是退休後維持心境平和的好方法。可是,從較深一層看,正如佛教修行中很多時會面對的,更有效的解決方法在於改變我們看事情的角度。與其他思想學派相反,佛教歡迎對自我身份認同的挑戰,視之為對某種妄見的消除。從佛教角度看,退休不僅僅意味從工作退下來,也意味從有規有矩和固定刻板的生活退下來。這裡要求我們重新認真思考何謂「有意義」。我們是否用自己的職業或自己擅長或喜好的活動來界定自己是誰呢?我們要是已經在努力嘗試放下所有東西,那為什麼不能也放下對自己是誰的界定呢?

開始的時候,要與這種「身份認同的不安全感」相處是不愉快的。可是,對這不安全感作深度的審視,正好可以理解佛教古已有之的視「自我」為虛妄的主張。當我們不再從屬於某個機構,而由之而來的身份認同因而終結時,難免會有點不知所措。開始感覺到這一點時,我們會覺得自己站在可怕的峭壁邊緣,正要縱身躍下,並從此失去比自己喜愛的工作、自己締造的家、以及自己拼搏得來的榮譽和財富更要珍貴的東西。我們沒能看到的是,這峭壁並非絕望的深淵,而是廣闊天空的一部分,完整的「無我」的自由存在。

為此,在這種關鍵時刻與能夠給予我們支持的「善知識」(kalyanamitra) 交往,是極其重要的。能夠置身於一個群體中,有同修和導師給予我們修行上的鼓勵,是退休後一種真正的福氣。這樣的善知識把我們在自己想像出來的峭壁邊緣往前推, 卻是使我們發現原來在以智慧和慈悲「兩隻翅膀」沖天高飛。

老側譯後語:

以上翻譯文章,初見於佛門網國際版(Buddhistdoor International)2015 年 4 月 2 日的社論專欄,題目是 Rethinking Retirement,這裡老側硬譯為《退休再思考》。佛門網國際版的社論(即 Buddhistdoor View ),一般由其主筆 Raymond Lam 撰寫。據老側所知,此小伙子目前還不到 27 歲。由一名在職場中拼搏又未到而立之年的青年人寫如何看待退休,似乎有點 surreal。

不管怎樣,這篇文章從佛教「無我」思想的角度去探討在職人士從職場退下進入沒有工作的人生另一階段時可如何在思想上應對有關過渡,說得還有點見地,此所以老側覺得不妨將小伙子這篇文章翻譯出來,在此部落供粉絲們看看、思考思考。

老側生性疏懶,好逸惡勞,打從上世紀九十年代中還在某中學當老師時已為自己定下提早退休的「七年計劃」,希望能盡早擺脫全職工作對老側寶貴時間也就是寶貴人生的羈絆。唯該計劃之完成一再拖延,「七年計劃」變成八年計劃,其後又變成九年計劃,等等。終於等到十年前即 2005 年才條件成熟,向當時的僱主香港考評局遞上辭職信,退出全職工作的勞動力市場。

當然,老側既然擁有多方面的才能,完全退出職場,固然令社會的進步蒙受不少損失,對老側財政收入方面亦構成不少壓力,因而也就沒有完全退出職場,而是以兼職和自由身(freelance)的形式繼續工作,同時間也就開始將退出全職工作而多了出來的時間去完成當時在港大修讀的佛學課程、為佛教事業做點義工,以及追尋自己的興趣如看書、寫文章、玩樂器等,一直到十年後的今天。老側過去十年的退休生活,比起之前差不多三十年的全職工作生活,當然是愜意很多,而從在職到退休的過渡,即上文主題探討的在職身份認同的消失,也沒有出現很大的問題。這一點要拜老側對佛學「無我」思想的粗淺認識所賜,這也是上文所說的放下從職場中建立起來的身份認同以及由之而來的各種各樣的觀念、習慣、行為等。這一點老側輕易做得到,並不表示一般人能輕易做到。事實上,有些人,特別是男性,在退休後無法適應新的生活模式而輕則導致家庭糾紛(如多了時間看到妻子作家務並看不順眼而出手或出口干預而引致妻子不滿)、重則患上憂鬱症乃至自殺的例子,並不罕見。所以,怎樣為自己行將退休做好心理準備(物質方面的準備如儲夠往後生活所需開支當然也要做好),是一件嚴肅的課題,這方面做好了,才算得上對自己和對家庭負責。

Rethinking Retirement 原文

Retirement is often presented as the beginning of freedom, the chance to pursue leisure. For spiritual practitioners, it is seen as an opportunity to spend more time doing formal practice. From this perspective, retirement is a good thing. Yet recent coverage on retirement (be it in the media or academic journals) attests to a more complex picture for those who have been fortunate enough to enjoy their working life. Of course, the degrees of satisfaction vary—some are lucky enough to have experienced their careers as a calling or vocation, whilst others simply stumbled into an interesting job and kept going. Damien Keown, a pioneer of Buddhist ethics in the West, enjoyed a bit of both. His tenure as the first professor of Buddhist ethics at Goldsmith’s University was surely a calling. Nevertheless, when asked during a lecture he gave at The University of Hong Kong in 2010 why he chose Buddhist Studies as a career, he joked that after so many years spent studying the subject, he had no choice but to try because he was no good at anything else.

Retirees who are fortunate enough to like their jobs, therefore, might not welcome their last day of work. Economic concerns aside, they may experience a loss of workplace community, networking, and belonging. More profound is the erosion of the “work” identity, which contemporary culture has imposed on most adults in industrialized societies. No longer does work or productivity just provide economic security—it is often the basis for creating our very sense of identity and meaning. But of course, in some ways it is understandable to infuse work with meaning, since today we spend more time working than at home or with family than ever before.

There is a dangerous assumption here, and that is the idea that one must do things to flourish or be at peace with oneself. The narrative, echoed by many companies even out of the workplace when marketing an attractive product, is simple: you are what you do. As many of us can corroborate, “What do you do?” is often the first question we’re asked at dinner meetings or social gatherings. We conflate what we do with who we are to others. The implication is that what we do must define us, and if we don’t do anything, we are boring at best and nothing at worst.

Buddhism and the other great religions teach people that there is a reality beyond conventional expectations. Buddhism asks that we serve all sentient beings with compassion and wisdom while walking in the footsteps of the Buddha. But this religious call to work towards enlightenment is quite different from doing something to achieve a sense of purpose. In the light of spiritual insight, our identities are exposed as fluid, non-solid, and ultimately unreal. Yet the repetitive, habitual actions and social importance attached to work make it a crucial component of our “being,” hence the difficulty of disentangling our understanding of identity from work. 

Common practical advice consists of useful tips like developing hobbies that are emotionally meaningful, intellectually nourishing, and physically nurturing. Charitable activities and volunteering are also sound activities to maintain a sense of peace with oneself post-retirement. But at the deeper level, as with so much in Buddhist practice, the most effective resolution is a change in perspective. In contrast to other schools of thought, Buddhism celebrates the challenge to self-identification as the dissolution of an illusion. Retirement in a Buddhist sense does not only mean from work—it also means retiring from reification and solidity. This invites a radical reconsideration of what we consider to be “meaningful.” Do we define ourselves by our careers or by activities we are good at or enjoy? If we are already trying our best to let go of everything, why can’t we let go of defining ourselves?

Making peace with “identity insecurity” is initially unpleasant, but to look deeply into this insecurity is to understand Buddhism’s ancient critique of the illusion of self. We can be at a loss when our institutional belonging and sense of identity are terminated. When we start to sense this happening, we feel ourselves standing at a terrifying precipice about to jump and lose something dearer to us than even the job we loved, the home we built, or the prestige or wealth we won. We’re unable to see that the precipice is not an abyss of despair, but part of the open sky—complete existential freedom in non-self (anatman).

That is why socializing with “good friends” (kalyanamitra) who can support us at this critical time is extremely important. A community of fellow practitioners and teachers that provides encouragement in our practice is a true post-retirement blessing. The kalyanamitra is the one who pushes us off our imaginary precipice, only to find ourselves soaring into the sky on the “two wings” of wisdom and compassion.

 

此文佛門網國際版連結:

http://newlotus.buddhistdoor.com/en/news/d/46004