On The Way: The Daily Zen Journal

June 16, 2005

Song of the Mind (Xin Ming) – Part II

Niutou Farong (594-657)

Distinguishing between profane and sacred,
Their vexations flourish.
Splitting hairs deviates from the eternal. 
Seeking the real, you give up the true. 

Discarding both is the cure, 
Transparent, bright, pure. 
No need for hard work or skill;
Keep to the actions of an infant. 

Clearly knowing,
The net of views increases
Stillness without seeing,
Not moving in a dark room. 

Wakeful without wandering, 
The mind is tranquil yet bright. 
All phenomena are real and eternal, 
Profuse, yet of a single form. 

Going, coming, sitting, standing, 
Don't attach to anything. 
Affirming no direction,
Can there be leaving or entering? 

There is neither unifying nor dispersing, 
Neither slow nor quick. 
Brightness and tranquility are 
Just as they are. 
They cannot be explained in words. 

Mind is without alienation; 
No need to terminate lust. 
Nature being empty, lust will 
Depart by itself. 
Allow the mind to float and sink. 

Neither clear nor clouded, 
Neither shallow nor deep. 
Originally it was not ancient; 
At present it is not modern. 

Now it is non-abiding; 
Now it is original mind. 
Originally it did not exist; 
“Origin” is the present moment. 

Bodhi has always existed; 
No need to preserve it. 
Vexation has never existed, 
No need to eliminate it. 

Natural wisdom is self-illuminating; 
All dharmas return to thusness. 
There is no returning, no receiving; 
Stop contemplating, forget keeping. 

Niutou Farong (594-657)

Excerpted from Song of Mind: Wisdom from the Zen Classic Xin Ming – Sheng Yen

Sometimes the doorway of understanding is wide open for us; other times, it seems only partially open. Each teacher seems to draw students who resonate with the images of the Way they happen to express. Each teaching is always a kind of translation, whether literal, or because of a teacher's particular style of expression.

Since in speaking of the Way we can only point indirectly, there is an air of impenetrable mystery at times. Have patience with the process of unfolding; each teacher has a part to share with us. Each person is in a different state of receptivity and development.

When reading pieces from the past it is helpful to stretch into the spirit of the writing and enter it directly. Pausing enough to let the words enter rather than allowing them to bounce off the intellect is a way to bypass the part of us so ready to say we don't understand. Zen is not about understanding in our traditional sense anyway.

We continue to explore and deepen our understanding over time. We are here for the long haul, aren't we? To find you inspiration daily, to stay true to your purpose, what more could we want here? 

Patiently continuing,
Elana, Scribe for Daily Zen

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