What would a story be without its lineage -- its birth in distant valleys, its growth upon the plains, its adventures at heights and depths that reach into the present and put meat on the contextual bone?
Anyone who reads up on it a bit knows that Buddhism is filled with lineage. Its actors and actresses, its philosophies and encouragements ... all harken back, whether in fictional or non-fictional accounts, and enrich the current scene. To enter a Buddhist temple is to risk hearing someone say, "a lineage that goes back to Shakyamuni Buddha himself."
A good story can be a miraculous thing -- inspiring, consoling, encouraging ... really, a miraculous thing. And Buddhism has its share of miraculous stuff.
But there is something to be said, from where I sit, for the recognition that Buddhism has no lineage. Of course there are lineage tales to be told. Of course there is some good that can spring -- even when the tales are historical eyewash -- from them.
But there is no lineage in Buddhism.
If there were, things would begin and end. If there were, things would be connected, which would mean they could somehow be unconnected. None of this computes in Buddhism. It's not that it's bad or good or more refined or less refined. It simply doesn't compute.
There is nothing wrong with a good story, a story with innumerable tendrils of lineage.
It's just that -- relax! -- there is no lineage in Buddhism.