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Contemplating Mind by Han Shan te Ch'ing


Contemplating Mind by Han Shan te Ch'ing (1546-1623)
      Translation by Chan Master Sheng Yen


Look upon the body as unreal,
an image in a mirror, the reflection of the moon in water.
Contemplate the mind as formless,
yet bright and pure.

Not a single thought arising,
empty, yet perceptive; still, yet illuminating;
complete like the Great Emptiness,
containing all that is wonderful.

Neither going out nor coming in,
without appearance or characteristics,
countless skillful means
arise out of one mind.

Independent of material existence,
which is ever an obstruction,
do not cling to deluded thoughts.
These give birth to illusion.

Attentively contemplate this mind,
empty, devoid of all objects.
If emotions should suddenly arise,
you will fall into confusion.

In a critical moment bring back the light,
powerfully illuminating.
Clouds disperse, the sky is clear,
the sun shines brilliantly.

If nothing arises within the mind,
nothing will manifest without.
That which has characteristics
is not original reality.

If you can see a thought as it arises,
this awareness will at once destroy it.
Whatever state of mind should come,
sweep it away, put it down.

Both good and evil states
can be transformed by mind.
Sacred and profane appear
in accordance with thoughts.

Reciting mantras or contemplating mind
are merely herbs for polishing a mirror.
When the dust is removed,
they are also wiped away.

Great extensive spiritual powers
are all complete within the mind.
The Pure Land or the Heavens
can be traveled at will.

You need not seek the real,
mind originally is Buddha.
The familiar becomes remote,
the strange seems familiar.

Day and night,
everything is wonderful.
Nothing you encounter confuses you.
These are the essentials of mind.
 

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