2: A hairbreadth of difference

毫釐有差     A hairbreadth of difference

天地懸隔     And heaven and earth are set apart

欲得現前     If you want it to appear before you

莫存順逆     Do not be for or against


The Tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The Unnamable is the beginning of Heaven and Earth. The Namable becomes the mother of the ten thousand things.
– Lao-tzu (Tao Te Ching)

Judge not, that you be not judged. For by whatever standards you judge will you be judged, and the punishment you mete out will come back to you in equal measure.
– Yeshua (Matt. 7:1)


Vimalakirti Sutra: (Burton Watson)

The Bodhisattva Field of Merit said, “To speak of deeds that generate good karma, deeds that generate evil karma, and deeds that generate no karma is dualistic. The true nature of all three kinds of deeds is empty. And if it is empty, then there are no good deeds, no evil deeds, and no non-karmaic deeds. One who allows no thought of distinction to arise with regard to these three types of deeds may thereby enter the gate of nondualism.”  (Wisdom Library)


If your mind moment by moment never differentiates, you may be called a living patriarch. If your mind differentiates, true nature and the world are set apart. But so long as it does not differentiate, true nature and the world are not separated.”

Someone asked, “What do you mean by the mind that moment by moment does not differentiate?”

The Master said, “The moment you ask such a question differentiation has already taken place: true nature and the world have been set apart.

“Followers of the Way, make no mistake! The myriad things in this and other worlds are all devoid of true nature, of a nature that can cause things to arise. They are empty names, and the scriptures (ching) are likewise empty. If you take these empty names as real, you make a grave mistake. (Lin-chi)

Adi Shankara:

The Vedas declare that the ignorant man who allows himself to make the slightest distinction between the individual soul and the Supreme Self is in peril. Where there is duality by virtue of ignorance, one sees all things as distinct from the Self; but when everything is seen as the Self, then there is not even an atom other than the Self. In that state when one realizes all things as the Self, there is neither delusion nor sorrow, in consequence of the absence of duality. (“Self Realization,” translation by Yogananda, Cp. 21)


Paramhansa Yogananda (1946). Autobiography of a Yogi. New York: The Philosophical Library. (https://www.ananda.org/support/files/2017/11/AYEbookDownload.pdf)

Watson, Burton (1999). The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi. New York: Columbia University Press. https://cup.columbia.edu/book/the-zen-teachings-of-master-lin-chi/9780231114851.

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