Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Way is Not Difficult: from Inscribed on the Believing Mind

Amida Waterfall by Hokusai

While deeply engrossed in the work of R. H. Blyth, I ran across this quote he took from Seng-Tsan:

 "The Way is not difficult; but you must avoid choosing!"

Curious, I tracked down the document from which it was taken, though not the same translation. So here is to sharing some sage advice as the seasons begin to turn once more:

Seng-Ts'an: author  from the Self-Discovery Portal
  Translated by Richard B. Clark

Hsin Hsin Ming
from Inscribed on the Believing Mind

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.
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 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.
Things are objects because of the subject;
the mind is such because of things.
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 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 benefits 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 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 or flowers in the 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 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 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.
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
     no yesterday
          no tomorrow
               no today.


Photo by Jorge Stulfi

the way things are--
the bark-stripper's plum trees
are in bloom
translated by David G. Lanoue


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Charles Gramlich said...

I'm afraid I'm constitutionally incapable of following the advice in this poem.

Fred said...

Perhaps a paradox or perhaps merely a quibble:

To choose or not to choose.

He has makes a choice when he chooses to avoid choosing.

Life is choosing.

BobZiller said...

Just finished reading Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination, this poem is a nice coda to it, incredibly similar in content.

WAS said...

Wow, Don! That's about the most compressed spiritual wisdom I've found in the untidy hut. "To seek Mind with the mind is the greatest of all mistakes." Indeed.

Woodland Rose said...

Thanks Don ~ very interesting with allot of truth, however while my mind comprehends it - my heart does not fully. My choice. Sounds like a conscious death/rebirth... something to aim for. Andrea

snowbird said...

During this election season it's good to keep this in mind.... The Great Way will have its way.... Peace

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

And, Charles, that is why you are much loved and always welcome here.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


A bit like those nesting Russian dolls, eh. The Way that can be named is not the Way.

It's not a quibble ... thanks.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Shankara ... glad this segued nicely. For those going further down the path ...

Crest Jewel of Wisdom.

thanks, Bob.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Glad it home, my friend.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


So, so true. Even those enlightened slip back. We do what we do. But your heart "knows" something.

The journey continues.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


The Great Way will have its way. That is concision, indeed.