Hsin Hsin Ming
Inscribed on the Believing Mind
by Chien-chih Seng-ts’an
Third Zen Patriarch [d. 606 A.D.]
R. H. Blyth Translation
There is nothing difficult about the Great Way,
But, avoid choosing!
Only when you neither love nor hate,
Does it appear in all clarity.
A hair’s breadth of deviation from it,
And deep gulf is set between heaven and earth.
If you want to get hold of what it looks like,
Do not be anti- or pro- anything.
The conflict of longing and loathing, —
This is the disease of the mind.
Not knowing the profound meaning of things,
We disturb our peace of mind to no purpose.
Perfect like a Great Space,
The Way has nothing lacking, nothing in excess.
Truly, because of our accepting and rejecting,
We have not the suchness of things.
Neither follow after,
Nor dwell with the Doctrine of the Void.
If the mind is at peace,
Those wrong views disappear of themselves.
When activity is stopped and passivity obtains,
This passivity is again the state of activity.
Remaining in movement or quiescence, —
How shall we know the One?
Not thoroughly understanding the unity of the Way,
Both (activity and quiescence) are failures.
If you get rid of phenomena, all things are lost.
If you follow after the Void,
you turn your back on the selflessness of things.
The more talking and thinking,
The farther from truth.
Cutting off all speech, all thought,
There is nowhere that you cannot go.
Returning to the root, we get the essence;
Following after appearances, we loose the spirit.
If for only a moment we see within,
We have surpassed the emptiness of things.
Changes that go on in this emptiness
All arise because of our ignorance.
Do not seek for the Truth;
Religiously avoid following it.
If there is the slightest trace of this and that,
The Mind is lost in a maze of complexity.
Duality arises from Unity, —
But do not be attached to this Unity.
When the mind is one, and nothing happens,
Everything in the world is unblameable.
If things are unblamed, they cease to exist;
If nothing happens there is no mind.
When things cease to exist, the mind follows them;
When the mind vanishes, things also follow it.
Things are things because of the Mind;
The Mind is the Mind because of things.
If you wish to know what these two are,
They are originally one Emptiness.
In this Void both (Mind and things) are one,
All the myriad phenomena contained in both.
If you do not distinguish refined and coarse,
How can you be for this or against that?
The activity of the Great Way is vast;
It is neither easy nor difficult.
Small views are full of foxy fears;
The faster, the slower.
When we attach ourselves (to the idea of enlightenment) we lose our balance;
We infallibly enter the Crooked Way.
When we are not attached to anything, all things are as they are;
With Activity there is no going or staying.
Obeying our nature, we are in accord with the Way,
Wandering freely, without annoyance.
When our thinking is tied, it turns out from the truth;
It is dark, submerged, wrong.
It is foolish to irritate your mind;
Why shun this and be friend of that?
If you wish to travel in the True Vehicle,
Do not dislike the Six Dusts.
Indeed, not hating the Six Dusts
Is identical with Real Enlightenment.
The wise man does nothing;
The fool shackles himself.
The Truth has no distinctions;
These come from our foolish clinging to this and that
Seeking the Mind with the mind, —
Is not this the greatest of all mistakes?
Illusion produces rest and motion;
Illumination destroys liking and disliking.
All these pairs of opposites
Are created by our own folly.
Dreams, delusions, flowers of air, —
Why are we so anxious to have them in our grasp?
Profit and loss, right and wrong, —
Away with them once for all!
If the eye does not sleep,
All dreaming ceases naturally.
If the mind makes no discriminations,
All things are as they are.
In the deep mystery of this “Things as they are”,
We are released from our relations to them.
When all things are seen “with equal mind”,
They return to their nature.
No description by analogy is possible
Of this state where all relations have ceased.
When we stop movement, there is no-movement
When we stop resting, there is no-rest.
When both cease to be,
How can the Unity subsist?
Things are ultimately, in their finality,
Subject to no law.
For the accordant mind in its unity,
(Individual) activity ceases.
All doubts are cleared up,
True faith is confirmed.
Nothing remains behind;
There is not anything we must remember.
Empty, lucid, self-illuminated,
With no over-exertion of the power of the mind.
This is where thought is useless,
This is what knowledge cannot fathom.
In the World of Reality,
There is no self, no other-than-self.
Should you desire immediate correspondence (with this Reality)
All that can be said is “No Duality!”
When there is no duality, all things are one,
There is nothing that is not included.
The Enlightened of all times and places
Have entered into this Truth.
Truth cannot be increased or decreased;
An (instantaneous) thought lasts a myriad years.
There is no here, no there;
Infinity is before our eyes.
The infinitely small is as large as infinitely great;
For limits are non-existent things.
The infinitely large is as small as the infinitely minute;
No eye can see their boundaries.
What is, is not,
What is not, is.
Until you have grasped this fact,
Your position is simply untenable.
One thing is all things;
All things are one thing.
If this is so for you,
There is no need to worry about perfect knowledge.
The believing mind is not dual;
What is dual is not the believing mind.
Beyond all language,
For it there is no past, no present, no future.