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信心銘 Hsin Hsin Ming – Verses on the Faith Mind

信心銘 Hsin Hsin Ming
Verses on the Faith Mind

by 鑑智僧璨 Chien-chih Seng-ts’an
三祖僧璨大师著 Third Zen Patriarch [606AD]

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.

信心銘

僧璨大師著

至道無難 唯嫌揀擇 但莫憎愛 洞然明白 毫釐有差 天地懸隔
欲得現前 莫存順逆 違順相爭 是為心病 不識玄旨 徒勞念靜
圓同太虛 無欠無餘 良由取捨 所以不如 莫逐有緣 勿住空忍
一種平懷 泯然自盡 止動歸止 止更彌動 唯滯兩邊 寧知一種
一種不通 兩處失功 遣有沒有 從空背空 多言多慮 轉不相應
絕言絕慮 無處不通 歸根得旨 隨照失宗 須臾返照 勝卻前空
前空轉變 皆由妄見 不用求真 唯須息見 二見不住 慎勿追尋
纔有是非 紛然失心 二由一有 一亦莫守 一心不生 萬法無咎
無咎無法 不生不心 能隨境滅 境逐能沉 境由能境 能由境能
欲知兩段 元是一空 一空同兩 齊含萬象 不見精麤 寧有偏黨
大道體寬 無易無難 小見狐疑 轉急轉遲 執之失度 必入邪路
放之自然 體無去住 任性合道 逍遙絕惱 繫念乖真 昏沉不好
不好勞神 何用疏親 欲取一乘 勿惡六塵 六塵不惡 還同正覺
智者無為 愚人自縛 法無異法 妄自愛著 將心用心 豈非大錯
迷生寂亂 悟無好惡 一切二邊 良由斟酌 夢幻空華 何勞把捉
得失是非 一時放卻 眼若不眠 諸夢自除 心若不異 萬法一如
一如體玄 兀爾忘緣 萬法齊觀 歸復自然 泯其所以 不可方比
止動無動 動止無止 兩既不成 一何有爾 究竟窮極 不存軌則
契心平等 所作俱息 狐疑淨盡 正信調直 一切不留 無可記憶
虛明自照 不勞心力 非思量處 識情難測 真如法界 無他無自
要急相應 唯言不二 不二皆同 無不包容 十方智者 皆入此宗
宗非促延 一念萬年 無在不在 十方目前 極小同大 忘絕境界
極大同小 不見邊表 有即是無 無即是有 若不如是 必不須守
一即一切 一切即一 但能如是 何慮不畢 信心不二 不二信心
言語道斷 非去來今

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