October 07, 2013
A classic Chan poem on mind training
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?
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,
The largest is the same as the smallest
Not seeing divisions
Existence is but emptiness,
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.