The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Thirteen: On the Order


The Founding Master said, “As I encounter all the types of people in this world, I generally find that each person’s distinctive characteristics vary. By ‘distinctive characteristics’ I mean such categories as the dharma one especially understands among the numerous dharmas existing in this world, things one has become accustomed to by seeing and hearing over a long period of time, a particular notion about the dharma one has established from one’s own point of view, or the particular tendencies each individual inherently possesses. If individuals stubbornly insist only on their own distinctive characteristics and do not try to understand others’ idiosyncrasies, then it may become a cause for offense even between the closest of comrades and lead to conflict. This is because what each person knows and is accustomed to is different, so that each person might not understand the things others do, local customs may differ, contemporary and traditional views might not be the same, or what one has become accustomed to like and dislike during one’s past lives and one’s preceding lifetime are different. If, basing my point of view on what I know, I deny or ignore what others know, I may even end up resenting them. This occurs because we do not understand each other’s distinctive characteristics from an expansive point of view. Therefore, it isn’t always because we have faults that others disparage us. Non-Buddhists reportedly disparaged the Buddha for his 84,000 different kinds of faults, but the Buddha didn’t really have them: rather, the non-Buddhists did not understand the Buddha’s true intent because their understanding and habits were different from his. Thus, I say to you that, as part of a congregation gathered from all over the country, each with your own distinct customs and knowledge, you should above all understand fully that each individual has his or her own distinctive characteristics. Only then will you be able to avoid causing offense between colleagues and realize the virtue of wide acceptance.”