Hsin Hsin Ming or Trust in Mind Sutra

The following is a translation of a poem attributed to Seng-ts’an, the Third Ch’an (zen) Patriarch. I could write more about it, but all I will say is that it is truly sublime and one of my favourites.

This version of the text has been translated by Richard B. Clarke

Enjoy

Hsin Hsin Ming or Trust in Mind Sutra

zen oxherding
Oxherding picture number 2: noticing the footprints

 

The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.

If you wish to see the truth
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.

When the deep meaning of things is not understood
the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

The Way is perfect like vast space
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
that we do not see the true nature of things.
Be serene in the oneness of things
and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.

When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity
your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other,
you will never know Oneness.

Those who do not live in the single Way
fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial.
To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality;
to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality.

The more you talk and think about it,
the further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

To return to the root is to find the meaning,
but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment,
there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.
The changes that appear to occur in the empty world
we call real only because of our ignorance.
Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.

Do not remain in the dualistic state; avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong,
the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.
Although all dualities come from the One,
do not be attached even to this One.

When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
nothing in the world can offend,
and when a thing can no longer offend,
it ceases to exist in the old way.

When no discriminating thoughts arise,
the old mind ceases to exist.
When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes,
and when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.

Things are objects because there is a subject or mind;
and the mind is a subject because there are objects.
Understand the relativity of these two
and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable
and each contains in itself the whole world.
If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine
you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.

To live in the Great Way
is neither easy nor difficult.
But those with limited views
are fearful and irresolute;
the faster they hurry, the slower they go.

Clinging cannot be limited;
even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way
and there will be neither coming nor going.

Obey the nature of things
and you will walk freely and undisturbed.
When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden,
for everything is murky and unclear.
The burdensome practice of judging
brings annoyance and weariness.
What benefit can be derived
from distinctions and separations?

If you wish to move in the One Way
do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.
Indeed, to accept them fully
is identical with true Enlightenment.

The wise man strives to no goals
but the foolish man fetters himself.
There is one Dharma, not many;
distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.
To seek Mind with discriminating mind
is the greatest of all mistakes.

Rest and unrest derive from illusion;
with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.
All dualities come from ignorant inference.
They are like dreams of flowers in air: foolish to try to grasp them.
Gain and loss, right and wrong;
such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.

If the eye never sleeps,
all dreams will naturally cease.
If the mind makes no discriminations,
the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence.

To understand the mystery of this One-essence
is to be released from all entanglements.
When all things are seen equally
the timeless Self-essence is reached.
No comparisons or analogies are possible
in this causeless, relationless state.
Consider motion in stillness
and stillness in motion;
both movement and stillness disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist
Oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate finality
no law or description applies.

For the unified mind in accord with the Way
all self-centered striving ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish
and life in true faith is possible.

With a single stroke we are freed from bondage;
nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.
All is empty, clear, self-illuminating,
with no exertion of the mind’s power.
Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.
In this world of Suchness
there is neither self nor other-than-self.

To come directly into harmony with this reality
just simply say when doubt arises, “Not two.”
In this “not two” nothing is separate,
nothing is excluded.
No matter when or where,
enlightenment means entering this truth.
And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space;
in it a single thought is ten thousand years.

Emptiness here, Emptiness there,
but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes.

Infinitely large and infinitely small;
no difference, for definitions have vanished
and no boundaries are seen.
So too with Being and non-Being.
Waste no time in doubts and arguments
that have nothing to do with this.

One thing, all things;
move among and intermingle,
without distinction.
To live in this realization
is to be without anxiety about nonperfection.
To live in this faith is the road to nonduality,
because the nondual is one with the trusting mind.

Words!
The Way is beyond language,
for in it there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today.

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What remains?

silence lake sunset

What is the ego?
Will you accept my definition or find out for yourself?

Stop, be aware of what is happening:
Notice the content of your thoughts.
Notice the feelings that accompany the thoughts:
Is there tension and stress in a particular thought?

Or is there a freedom,
A space where thought is free to move,
Free to come and go as it pleases?

And what is the ego?
What does it feels like?
What kind of energy does it bring into the physical organism?

Be open to feel this ego:
Get a sense of what it feels like in its many guises.
Relax and let it in.

Notice a cascade of thoughts and feelings:
When they are believed in and invested in,
The egoic thoughts weave an apparently believable story line,

But when seen for what it is,
Inherently empty of any self,
Just empty thoughts coming and going,
With some associated sensations,
And perhaps an interpretive thought accompanying and interpreting what the ‘feelings mean’.

Notice there may be an urge to get out of the ego,
A movement of thought that attempts to end the ego may occur,
And notice that this is simply more of the ego,
More of this activity based on this false sense of self,
Based on this false notion of separation.

When things are seen for what they are,
And allowed to unfold as they are,
And illusion born of thought is no longer believed in,
What remains?

The belief in separation 

river meander advaita

It is the belief in separation
That allows for the belief in doership.
Otherwise all there is is One-Movement.

There is not even one movement:
If we go by the evidence presented to us by experience,
There is only movement happening.

No evidence for a doer-entity,
No evidence for an entity with ultimate responsibility.
Instead there is just life happening,

From the point of view of a person,
A body operating and functioning,
Seemingly by itself,
With all the workings and humanity of the organism manifesting,
However it manifests.

As truth is seen,
Layers of deception and wrong thinking fall away,
And the Freedom that always was and is,
Is revealed.

Like the sun when the clouds parts,
Nothing needs to be attained,
Only the obscuring clouds of wrong notions,
Need to be seen through.

 

Gently ushered home

Maple leaf on stones

When the body is loose and relaxed,
When it is fed nutritiously,
When movement is fluid, safe and dynamic,
Physical wellbeing tends to manifest.

When the mind is relaxed and alert,
Not fighting this way and that,
Not straining and thirsting after temporary sense pleasures,
Not indulging in stories of self,
Not judging others as being better or worse,
Seeing things factually as they are,
Happiness manifests.

When happiness and wellbeing manifest,
We become receptive to that-which-is,
We become sensitive to life and its play,
And intelligence is enhanced.

And so life shifts,
From side to side,
Bobbing us up and down,

Mysteriously,
Intelligently,
Lovingly,
Nurturing us in the ways we need,
(not necessarily in the ways we want),

And life,
In its every action and happening,
Is gently ushering us home.
(Where else were we?)

 

The fire of suffering

cropped-sunset-trees1.jpg

Believing the narrative of ‘me’,

Buying into this notion of self,

Projecting this notion of self onto another,

Indulging in the 3 judgements of pride, praise and blame,

We pile log upon log upon log,

Onto the fire of suffering.

Relax into Unknowing/Faith in Being

Sink back and relax into Unknowing

Relax into Unknowing
What does that mean?
It means to relax, to let go of everything.

What are you left with?
You are left with whatever is.
You are left with this,
Just this.

No matter how much you let go,
This is.

Or you could say:
No matter how much you let go,
You are.

This Letting Go,
Is the coming into contact with being.
This is what it means to abide as the ‘I am’.
This is what it means to ‘remember who you are’.

It’s can become obvious that
All perceived things,
All phenomena,
Come and go.

The objects of the external world come and go,
Thoughts come and go,
Feelings come and go.

Knowledge comes and goes,
Expericences come and go,
States of consciousness come and go.

The body is a process
Of constant change,
As is everything else.
It too comes and goes.

In this sense independent objects do not exist in of themselves.
All there is is movement,
Constant movement appearing as form,
But no static unchanging form can be found
Not even for a moment.

This Being/Unknowing is always here.
It can be consciously known when you relax and notice it,
Notice that which is ever present and unchanging in your experience.

When this unchanging essence/being is realised
And understood to always be here,
Undisturbed by comings and goings,
Then we do not need to keep on returning
to the practice of relaxing into unknowing/being.

Instead we can have Faith In Being.
This is Self-Knowledge.

Poetry: Unplug Yourself

unplug.jpg
Unplug yourself:
For the one caught,
Hard and fast,
In the snare of society,
A period of sustained abstinence is necessary.

Unplug yourself:
From the media
From television
The radio.

Unplug yourself:
From naratives
In films
In books
In magazines.

Unplug yourself:
From idle chatter
From gossip
From social status.

Don’t believe the Hype.
Don’t believe the promise of a future happiness,
That lies outside of yourself,
Just around the corner,
In that Ferari,
In that person,
In that experience,
In that object.

Let go,
Let go of egoic desire,
Let go of that future promise of pleasure,
Let go of the pull of sensual desire,
Do not be afraid to feel that pain.

Be open,
Be open to your feelings,
Do not be afraid to think your thoughts,
Do not be afraid of what is.

Unplug yourself:
For the one caught,
Hard and fast,
In the snare of society,
A period of sustained abstinence is necessary.

Unplug yourself:
from your thoughts and mind.
This is the real unplugging:
Being unplugged from thoughts and mind.

I repeat:
This is the real unplugging:
Being unplugged from thoughts and mind.

Immerse yourself in Pure Consciousness,
Devoid of Mind, Body and World,
Ever-Free,
Joyous,
Full of love and light.

Remain here,
Until what has to be done,
Is done.

Remain here,
in Lovingness and Light,
Until what has to be done,
Is done.

Poetry: O! Murderous Heart!

cropped-sunset-trees1.jpg
Allow the mind to sink,
down down down,
down into the Heart.

Allow the mind to rest,
allow the thoughts to still,
and allow the Joy and Bliss,
(which is none other than the purifying Heart itself)
to well up.

Allow this to happen,
quite naturally,
unforced,
and paradoxically with no expectation.

The mind quietens,
and temporarily,
the self-centred egoic process does not exist.

With repeated cessation of the mind,
the self-image-centred ego is submerged,
then through time it is weakened,
and eventually it is consumed by the Gracious Heart.

Then all is left is Purity,
just Purity Purity Purity;
the resplendent Heart,
Bounteous,
Over-spilling with Joy.

The Energy,
seemingly boundless,
everywhere and everything…

…How can you speak of this?

My words are uttered in poetry,
not prose,
destined two fall upon the attentive ears
of one who has already discovered
the intoxication of the Self.

O! Murderous Heart!
You have smothered me,
Warmly and tenderly,
In the heat of your Love,
Where am I to be found?!

O!Words cannot describe Your wonder,
Your effulgence,
Your light,
Your love…

…words fill me with glory
Yours and Mine;
our glory is but One Glory:
it is Me,
and it has nothing to do with me;
it is Mine,
and yet it is not mine;
it is here,
but it is no particular thing;
it is everything,
but not even everything.

Yes…words cannot touch this,
yet these words spew forth,
like an idiot talking to a drunkard,
somehow it all makes perfect sense.