Very Subtle Distinction

Yutang Lin

Truth, being selfless, does not impose limitations.
In tune with the right path, all practices would do.
Using Buddhist formalities to uphold one's position,
Such subtle cracks should be carefully examined.


The fundamental philosophy of Buddhist teachings is selflessness in all phenomena. In other words, all phenomena are results of gathering and dispersing of causal conditions; consequently, there is no particular determinant factor in all situations. In accordance with this fundamental teaching, the views, thinking, actions and inaction of a Buddhist should be in line with universal truths but not to adhere to only one particular way.

ome people also employ Buddhist teachings and formalities, and claim to have great supernatural powers that had induced many miraculous happenings. From ordinary point of view of worldly people they are readily recognized as being Buddhists. Nevertheless, their own grasping to the claim that they are the holder of the Right Dharma revealed precisely that they lacked comprehension of the fundamental teaching that truths are in selflessness, and hence they had indeed acknowledged that they are not in accordance with Buddhism. According to Buddhist teachings such people served as examples of "outsiders under the pretence of Buddhism."

This is a very subtle and difficult to discern distinction. Buddhists in general, before they have a firm comprehension of the right view, would often be confused and beguiled by such apparent formal similarities. Therefore, I hereby pointed this out with the hope that there would be less number of people being beguiled by such pretences.

Written in Chinese on July 3, 2004
Translated on July 5, 2004
El Cerrito, California

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