On The Way: The Daily Zen Journal

April 13, 2021

The Practice of True Reality – Part 2

Hung-chih (1091-1157)

The practice of true reality is simply to sit serenely in silent introspection. When you have fathomed this you cannot be turned around by external causes and conditions. This empty, wide open mind is subtly and correctly illuminating.

Spacious and content, without confusion from inner thoughts of grasping, effectively overcome habitual behavior and realize the self that is not possessed by emotions. You must be broad minded, whole without relying on others.

Such upright, independent spirit can begin not to pursue degrading situations. Here you can rest and become clean, pure, and lucid. Bright and penetrating, you can immediately return, accord, and respond to deal with events. Everything is unhindered, clouds gracefully floating up to the peaks; the moonlight glitteringly flowing down mountain streams.

The entire place is brightly illumined and spiritually transformed, totally unobstructed and clearly manifesting responsive interaction like box and lid or arrowpoints meeting.

Continuing, cultivate and nourish yourself to enact maturity and achieve stability. If you accord everywhere with thorough clarity and cut off sharp corners without dependence on doctrines, like the white bull or wildcat (helping to arouse wonder), you can be called a complete person. So we hear that this is how one on the way of non-mind acts, but before realizing non-mind we still have great hardship.

Face Everything, Let Go, and Attain Stability

Vast and far-reaching without boundary, secluded and pure, manifesting light, this spirit is without obstruction. Its brightness does not shine out but can be called empty and inherently radiant. Its brightness, inherently purifying, transcends causal conditions beyond subject and object.

Subtle but preserved, illumined and vast, also it cannot be spoken of as being or non-being, or discussed with images or calculations. Right in here the central pivot turns, the gateway opens.

You accord and respond without laboring and accomplish without hindrance. Everything turns around freely, not following conditions, not falling into classifications. Facing everything, let go and attain stability. Stay with that just as that. Stay with this just as this.

That and this are mixed together with no discriminations as to their places. So it is said that the earth lifts up the mountains without knowing the mountain’s stark steepness. A rock contains jade without knowing jade’s flawlessness. This is how to truly leave home, how home-leaving must be enacted.

Contemplating the Ten Thousand Years

Patch-robed monks make their thinking dry and cool and rest from the remnants of conditioning. Persistently brush up and sharpen this bit of the field. Directly cut through all the overgrown grass. Reach the limit in all directions without defining even one atom.

Spiritual and bright, vast and lustrous, illuminating fully what is before you, directly attain the shining light and clarity that cannot attach to a single defilement. Immediately tug and pull back the ox’s nose. Of course his horns are imposing, and he stomps around like a beast, yet he never damages people’s sprouts or grains.

Wandering around, accept how it goes. Accepting how it goes, wander around. Do not be bound by or settle into any place. Then the plough will break open the ground in the field of the empty kalpa. Proceeding in this manner, each event will be unobscured; each realm will appear complete.

One contemplation of the ten thousand years is beginning not to dwell in appearances. Thus it is said that the mind-ground contains every seed and the universal rain makes them all sprout. When awakening blossoms, desires fade, and Bodhi’s fruit is perfected self.

Hung-chih (1091-1157)

Excerpt from Cultivating the Empty Field – The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi translated by Dan Leighton and Yi Wu

Imagine having a teacher whose use of language itself can transport you out of thinking mind into being-in-the-present mind. Hung-chih’s poetic expression gently moves us beyond limitations and walks us into a vastness easily experienced in the mountain peaks or among the brilliance of the flowers.

It seems so natural to be one with the breath while hiking and watching the trail in front, being so immersed in the moment one forgets being an individual for a while. The sense of flow and oneness with the surroundings is effortless at times like those, and it is also present in the total immersion with anything to which we give our all. The dividing line between the actor and the actions blurs and becomes one whole movement or non-movement.

One contemplation of the ten thousand years is beginning not to dwell in appearances. Thus it is said that the mind-ground contains every seed and the universal rain makes them all sprout.

Walking on with you…

Elana, Scribe for Daily Zen

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