Statements of Law

Yutang Lin

Causes and conditions meet to yield results;
Statements of laws assert only relationships.
Buddha's teachings understood in this light;
No need to argue about factual or fictitious.


Statements of laws express relationships between causal conditions and their consequences. Therefore, they assume the form of a conditional statement, i.e., "If this be the case, then that would be the case." Laws assert only the necessary connection between this and that-if this is the case, then that must be the case. As to the truth or falsehood of this or that individually, it is of no concern to the laws.

Buddha's teachings are expressions of laws of truth. Therefore they are called "Dharma," statements of laws. That is why in the sutras Buddha's words are often expressed as conditional sentences. Once it is understood that the point of a conditional sentence is to indicate the necessary connection between its two parts, then one no longer need to argue about whether its individual segments are true or false.

Written in Chinese on December 20, 2001
Translated on January 13, 2002
El Cerrito, California

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