Without Notions of You and Me

Yutang Lin

Tiny dust of irritation could lead to disastrous chaos;
Complaints accumulated in years are outpoured at once!
Open the mind to forget about entangling would be easier;
Fallen leaves floating behind waves of a faraway sail.


Worldly strife is often triggered by hairlike matters, and yet resulting in unredeemable consequences. The root of all such disharmony is the unceasing knitting of "how I am," "how you are," "how she is,"; and "how he is" in peoples minds. In Buddhist terminology, the root of our sorrows is the notions of "self" and "people." If one could open ones mind to encompass all sentient beings, and to empathize the bitter and helpless feelings involved in all sorts of tragic or joyful events and the separation or union of beings, then one would at once realize the minuteness of ones personal history and no longer be interested in hairsplitting details. Ups and downs, twists and turns of ones experiences are all like fallen leaves floating on a river, further and further away and fading into oblivion. They are only the embellishment of a faraway sail, adding interest to a view from afar.

Written in Chinese: November 4, 1998
Translated: August 29, 1999
El Cerrito, California

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