Outside the Arena

Yutang Lin

The Buddhist path employs practices and activities that are free from worldly considerations to carry out salvation of people from within worldly circles at a profound and fundamental level. Worldly problems of a certain time and place, once one gets involved, could pull one into a whirlpool of endless entanglements. Each individual has only very limited time and energy. Hence, while upholding the intention to conduct salvation of the world through Buddhist ways one should avoid getting involved in worldly tangles. This is not escaping from the world for self-preservation; rather, in order to dedicate one's efforts single-mindedly to a long-term great goal, one need to remain steadfast in the face of flirting current waves. Once this is understood, one could only advocate and abide by it but should not criticize others based on it, lest one would stir up arguments and entanglements. As to the case of reaching the juncture of life and death due to circumstantial oppressions, if struggle could bring about relief, according to some Sutra it would be permissible to get involved. Nevertheless, worldly phenomena flow and evolve unpredictably, and there is no side that is absolutely good or absolutely bad, rather, in abundance are partial and prejudicial arguments that are knitted together by each side with self-interests in mind. Once one got involved, it is hardly avoidable for one to became trapped inside the snare of chasing after superficial formality and vacuous names. Thus, even if the appearance of Dharma might be preserved, there would be no assurance of not losing its essence. Not to mention that there are worldly tricky adepts that would promote selfish interests under the guise of Dharma endeavors; why would a sincere and dedicated practitioner waste time on arguing with such morons? When one expands view to the panorama of all worlds the duration and depth of Dharma connections and conditions are also a matter beyond compelling. Therefore, instead of getting involved without knowing how the consequences would turn out, a practitioner would rather remain constant and consistent from beginning till end to stay peacefully outside the worldly arena. Thus one's sincerity and dedication is preserved without reservation nor worries while one's situation remains concurrent with the flow of the whole Dharmadhatu. In this way, in case some sincere and actively participating Buddhist needs guidance, there would be leisure for pointing the direction and clarifying the subtleties.

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

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