Faith in Mind
by Sengtsan, third Chinese patriarch
Translated by Richard B. Clarke
The Great Way is not difficult for those who are unattached to 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. Live neither
in the entanglements of outer things nor in inner feelings of emptiness. 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 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, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish. Things are
objects because of the subject [mind]. The mind [subject] is such because of things [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, and clinging [attachment] 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 [your own nature], and you will walk freely and undisturbed. When
thought is in bondage, the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and 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 the [discriminating] mind is the greatest of all
Rest and unrest derive from illusion. With enlightenment there is no liking and disliking. All
dualities come from ignorant inference. They are like dreams or 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,
Consider movement stationary, and the stationary in motion. Both movement and rest disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist, Oneness itself cannot exist. To this ultimate finality no law or
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 doubts arise, "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. Don't waste 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 non-perfection. To live in this faith is the road to non-duality,
because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.
The Way is beyond language, for in it there is
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