Concept of a Person

Yutang Lin

Recognition of persons applies in daily lives.
Not grasping to a fixed idea, no need to stir.
Incessant flow of a river turns along its banks.
Now and then situations vary, 'tis only natural.


In daily life we could not do without recognition of persons. Nevertheless, Dharma teaches that one should be free from the concept of a person. How should we abide by such teachings? It is fine to recognize persons in daily life as worldly people all do, but we should not grasp on to such a notion with insistence on its consistency and uniformity, and not to be bothered by its contradictions and unruliness. In other words, when one person exhibits drastically different behaviors at different times and places we should not be surprised, nor should we thereby be disturbed into mental bewilderment. Thus, whatever happened at one time may well be different from that at some other time, and all would be uneventful. Even for the sake of discussions one could simply restrict discussion to a certain time and place without demanding consistency of past, present and future events. Dharma teaches paths toward liberation, and hence one should try to reduce entanglements as much as possible, and thereby come closer to the right path.

Written in Chinese and translated on July 9, 2006
El Cerrito, California

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