Layers over Layers without End

Yutang Lin

Carefully studied one thing would yield four layers,
Connected in series with elastic link like a spring.
Deducing from this ad infinitum on layers over layers,
Inner and outer space both open to merge all into oneness.


The other day in a dream I was shown a round box consisting of four layers of identical tops and bottoms. Then the four sets transformed into a long series of rings linked together elastically resembling a spring. Guru Chen used to teach that any thing or event has the four layers that may be classified as outer, inner, secret and the most secret. These layers correspond respectively to the physical, psychical, union of physical and psychical, and Sunyata levels of our experiences. (The four layers of the round box signify this point.) Furthermore, these four levels are intimately interconnected and inseparable. The distinction into four levels is only a general classification; when studied in details there could be even more levels. (The long series of rings elastically linked together signifies this point.)

According to this teaching, within anything there is infinite content, just as the saying that one granule of sand is one universe in itself. On the other hand, anything is also part of the oneness that is the whole Dharmadhatu, and therefore has infinite outer connections. In this way, both inner and outer extension of anything is limitless. Thus its individuality would be lost in such infinity. The continuous and limitless sequence of infinite layers is the original purity in perfect harmony of existence and Sunyata.

Written in Chinese: February 18, 1999
Translated: September 10, 1999
El Cerrito, California

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