Hsin Hsin Ming – Faith in heart-and-mind

Written or spoken by Ch’an master Seng Ts’an (Jap: Sosan)  5…?  –  606

The Great Way is not hard to live

When you make your choices without grasping.

Not holding on to like or to aversion

There is understanding with clarity.

But with a hair’s breadth of discrimination

The universe is split into Heaven and Earth.


If you wish to see what is there

Better drop your for and against.

For and against locked in a fight

Causes disease of heart and mind.

Without awareness of deeper meaning

You toil in vain for peace in mind.


The all-inclusive is like great space

Where nothing is missing, nothing is too much.

Due to grasping and pushing away

We are not that way.


Neither pursuing conditioned existence

Nor trying to stay in emptiness – suppressing it,

Be at one and at peace with its diversity

And confusion will disappear naturally.


Try to return to stillness by stopping mind-activity

And the effort of staying still, fills you with agitation.

How can you know one-ness

If you are stuck with stillness or activity?

If oneness does not flow through all things

Existence and emptiness cannot function.


When you try to banish existence

There is no more aliveness,

When you chase after emptiness

You turn away from it.


When you indulge in talk and thought

You turn from Truth as it is.

Stop defining with words and working out with thoughts

And there is nothing you will not understand.


Return to the foundation and you’ll find the meaning,

Pursue things as they seem and you loose their essence.

Turn the light within just for a moment

And you go beyond appearance and emptiness.


The empty background alternating

With appearances in front,

Is due to an incorrect way of looking.

There is no need to search for the Real,

Just let go of your perspectives.


Do not stay with the dualistic view,

Take care not to get enmeshed by it or seek it.

When there is affirmation or denial

Essential nature gets scattered and unclear.

All this or that, all two, comes forth from the One

And do not hold on to this One.


When no views come forth from the One

Nothing whatsoever is of offence;

When there is no offence, there is no thing whatsoever

When neither views nor things arise, neither does mind.


The subject dies along with the object

The object perishes along with the subject

Object is object because of the subject

Subject is subject because of the object.


Know that these two are from the first one emptiness;

Within this one emptiness the two are identical.

This sameness contains all appearances.

Not ‘seeing’ either coarse or fine,

How can you form bias to either?


Living the substance of the Great Way

Is not easy, nor is it difficult.

With narrow views, fears and doubts,

However you hurry, you will slow down.


Holding on to the Way you lose the equilibrium

Then the mind will go astray.

Letting things with their own flow go

You will find “neither going nor staying.”


Accord with your nature, merge with the Way,

Live free and at ease, unbound by grievance.

Tied to thought and memory you deviate from the true

Sinking into a mental fog is not right either.

“Not right” wearies the spirit.

Why judge as distant or close?


If you wish to further yourself in the One Vehicle

Don’t then even dislike the “six sense realms”.

Being free from aversion or fear for them

Is what is meant by ‘true enlightenment’.


Persons of wisdom have neither motives nor goals,

Ignorant people tie themselves to things.

The one truth does not consist of many different truths;

To love and protect the self , that is delusion.


Using the grasping mind to get hold of all-pervasive Mind

Isn’t that a great foolishness?

For the deluded mind there is serenity and turmoil,

For the enlightened mind: neither good nor evil.


Seeing two where there is one

Is the deluded mind’s self-centred construction:

Dreams, illusions, flowers in the sky.

Why bother grasping after them?

Gain and loss, right and wrong –

Let them go at once!


If the eye does not sleep

All dreams will naturally cease,

If the mind does not make differences

All things are one as they are.


The ‘being one’ of things – as they are – is profound;

‘Cause and condition’ is forgotten in the original ‘being so’;

All things are seen to be the same,

They have returned to what they naturally are.

An end is put to the ‘why and because’

And there can be no analogy and comparison.


When you stop all mental activity

There will be no activity,

But even though there is no activity

There is no stillness.


Since neither can be complete on their own

How could either of them be absolute?

For the ultimate and supreme

Rules and standards do not exist.


Devote yourself to impartiality

And whatever you do will carry stillness.

Anxiety and doubt will completely clear

And true faith will bring things to harmony.


So that nothing clung to will remain

Nothing remembered will continue.

Spacious and bright the mind functions naturally,

Without exhausting its energy.


Thought and measure cannot reach this place

Consciousness and emotion cannot fathom it.

In the Dharma realm of the real as it is

There is no self or other.


Make sure to quickly accord with it

By simply saying: “not two”.

Within “not two” all things are the same

And nothing is not included.


Throughout the world, those with wisdom

Have all understood this principle –

Which is neither immediate nor gradual:

Ten thousand years is as a single thought.


Without “it is” or “it is not”

The universe is right before your eyes.

In this realm, where delusion has ceased,

The smallest is the same as the largest.


The largest is the same as the smallest,

No boundaries to be seen!

Existence is the same as emptiness,

Emptiness is the same as existence.

If it is not this way

Do not hold on to it.


One thing, is all things,

All things are one thing.

If it is this way

Why worry about not getting done!


Faith and ‘heart-and-mind’, are not two,

Not two is faith in heart and mind.

The pathway of words is cut

Past, present and future – gone.