October 07, 2013

Faith in Mind

A classic Chan poem on mind trainingJianzhi Sengcan

 

Attaining the Way is not difficult,

Just avoid picking and choosing.

If you have neither aversion nor desire,

You’ll thoroughly understand.

A hair’s breadth difference

Is the gap between heaven and earth.

If you want it to come forth

Let there be no positive and negative.

For such comparisons

Are a sickness of the mind.

Without knowing the Great Mystery

Quiet practice is useless.

The great perfection is the same as vast space,

Lacking nothing, nothing extra.

Due to picking up and discarding

You will not know it.

Don’t chase the conditioned

Nor abide in forbearing emptiness.

In singular equanimity

The self is extinguished.

Ceasing movement and returning to stillness,

This is complete movement.

But only suppress the two aspects

How can you realize unity?

Not penetrating the one,

The two lose their life.

Reject existence and you fall into it,

Pursue emptiness and you move away from it.

With many words and thoughts

You miss what is right before you.

Cutting off words and thought

Nothing remains unpenetrated.

Return to the root and attain the essence,

For if you chase the light you’ll lose the Way.

But if you reflect the light for but a moment,

All previous shadows are dispelled.

All previous shadows are transformed

Because they were all due to delusive views.

It’s no use to seek truth,

Just let false views cease.

Don’t abide in duality

And take care not to seek,

For as soon as there is yes and no,

The mind is lost in confusion.

Two comes forth from one,

But don’t hold even the one,

For when even the one mind is unborn,

The myriad things are flawless.

Without flaws, without things,

With no birth, no mind,

Function is lost to conditions,

Conditions perish in function,

Conditions arise from function,

Function is actualized from conditions.

You should know that duality

Is originally one emptiness,

And one emptiness unifies duality,

Encompassing the myriad forms.

Not perceiving refined or vulgar

Is there any prejudice?

The Great Tao is vast,

With neither ease nor difficulty,

If you have biased views and doubts,

And move too fast or slow

Grasping the world without measure,

Then your mind has taken a Wayward path,

Let it all naturally drop away

And embody no coming or going,

In accord with your fundamental nature unite with Tao

And wander the world without cares,

Being tied by thought runs counter to Truth,

But sinking into a daze is not good,

Don’t belabor the spirit,

Why adhere to intimate or distant?

If you want to experience the one vehicle,

Don’t malign the senses.

For when the senses are not maligned

That itself is perfect awakening,

The wise do not move,

But the ignorant bind themselves.

Though one dharma differs not from another

The deluded self desires each,

Objectifying the mind to realize mind,

Is this not a great error?

Delusion gives rise to quietness or chaos,

But enlightenment has no positive and negative,

The duality of existence

Is born from false discrimination,

Flourishing dreams and empty illusions,

Why try to grab them?

Gain and loss, true and false,

Drop them all in one moment.

If the eyes don’t sleep

All dreams disappear.

If the mind does not go astray

The myriad dharmas are but One,

And the One encompasses the Mystery.

In stillness, conditioned existence is forgotten,

And the myriad things are seen equally,

Naturally returning to each one’s own nature.

When all dharmas are extinguished

It is immeasurable.

Cease movement and no movement exists,

When movement stops there is no cessation.

Since two are not manifest

How is there even one?

Finally, ultimately,

Principles do not exist,

Bring forth the mind of equanimity

And all activities will be put to rest,

All doubts extinguished.

True faith is upright,

And nothing then remains,

Nothing is remembered,

And the empty brightness shines naturally

Without effort of mind.

There, not a thought can be measured,

Reason and emotion can’t conceive it.

In the dharma realm of true thusness

There is neither other, nor self,

One should hasten to behold it.

Just say, “Not two,”

For in “not two” all things are united,

And there is nothing not included.

The wise ones of the ten directions,

Have entered this great understanding,

An understanding which neither hastens nor tarries.

In ten thousand years, a single thought,

Not to be found within “existence and non-existence,”

But meeting the eye in the ten directions.

The smallest is no different from the largest,

Eliminating boundaries,

The largest is the same as the smallest

Not seeing divisions

Existence is but emptiness,

Emptiness, existence.

That not of this principle

Must not be preserved.

The one is everything,

Everything, the one.

If your understanding is thus,

What is left to accomplish?

Faith and mind are undivided,

Non-duality is both faith and mind.

The way of words is cut off,

Leaving no past, no future, no present.


Trans. Andrew Ferguson. From Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings. Reprinted by arrangement with Wisdom Publications, Inc., wisdompubs.org.

Image: Alexandre Duret Lutz / Flickr

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Jack Foreigner's picture

Huh??

EdB's picture

Hongzhi Zenjue. Or maybe not.
Easy to read. A life time to follow.

Jakela's picture

"Round up the usual suspects."

idaleung1's picture

Could you say which master?

rohiller's picture

Seng-ts'an, Third Chinese Patriarch

Dominic Gomez's picture

"Faith and mind are undivided"...and faith equals daily life.

rosemary.franklin's picture

What simple truth. Thank you.