Neither Adding nor Subtracting


Yutang Lin



Neither born nor deceased, neither dirty nor clean, neither adding nor subtracting
Such is the famous saying from the Heart Sutra
It serves to explain that the concept of Blank Essence is irrelevant to
The usual worldly considerations on existence, quality and quantity

In the face of worldly phenomena
Birth and death, dirty and clean, increasing and decreasing are naturally noticed
As Dharma practices if one were to force oneself to think beyond all these
It is most difficult and without significances

Nevertheless, taking it as reflection on one's own mental attitude
"Neither adding nor subtracting" could serve as a guideline for Dharma practice

The so-called "original purity" "uncontrived original place" "original face"
Why is it difficult to reach and could not be merged into
Only because habitual tendencies are heavy and thick
        Causing one's intentions and thoughts to constantly make additions and subtractions
And thus keeps one far away from the reality that is originally without contrivances

All Dharma practices aim at returning everything to purity
Hence a Dharma practitioner had better constantly remind himself
Neither adding nor subtracting
And let go of any intentional contrivance as soon as it arises

Recently this important point came to mind
And I think that this guideline could serve as a key to Dharma practices
May all practitioners on the enlightenment path share this


Written in Chinese and translated on November 5, 2011
El Cerrito, California