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Introduction
Page One ... Page Two ... Page Three ... Without Commentary ... Cleary Translation ... Shinjin-No-Mei D.T.Suzuki


A translation known as Faith Mind by Clark is a W.I.P.
as is the original Chinese



HsinHsinMing

(with commentary)


THERE IS NOTHING DIFFICULT ABOUT THE GREAT WAY,
BUT, AVOID CHOOSING!
We suffer, at one and the same time, from excessive pride and
excessive humility. On the one hand, our intellect rushes in
where angels fear to tread. On the other hand, we are too humble
before the Buddhas and saints, not realizing that we too are the
Buddha, as the "Avatamsaka" ("Kegonkyo") declares:


The mind, the Buddha, living creatures, --
these are not three different things.
Haiku are divided, rather arbitrarily, into seven sections:
The Season, Sky and Elements, Fields and Mountains, Gods and Buddhas,
Human Affairs, Animals and Birds, Trees and Flowers.
With all these but one, the fifth, in the petals of the barley leaf,
the tender smile on the lips of Kwannon, the moonlight on the valley
stream, the voices of insects in autumn, the coldness of winter,
we can see the Great Way that stretches out in every direction,
throughout past, present and future.
But when we come to man, to ourselves, it is a different story.


So, beneath the starry dome
And the floor of plains and seas,
I have never felt at home,
Never wholly been at ease.


The First Day of the Year:
I remember
A lonely autumn evening.
~ Basho ~


Scattering rice too,
This is a sin:
The fowls are fighting each other.
~ Issa ~


In "The Sphinx", Emerson tells us:


Erect as a sunbeam,
Upspringeth the palm;
The elephant browses,
Undaunted and calm.
But man crouches and blushes,
Absconds and conceals;
He creepeth and peepeth,
He palters and steals.


In other words, Sengtsan, in declaring that the Way in not
difficult, is flatly contradicting the experience of mankind both
in regard to the complexities of ordinary life and the perception
of the natural poetry of apparently unpoetical things.
His meaning is faintly adumbrated by the well known verse of Yamazaki
Sokan, d. 1553, included in a collection of poems he made called
"Inutsukuba":


How I wish to kill!
How I wish
Not to kill!
The thief I have caught
Is my own son.


This corresponds to the English proverb,


He who follows truth too closely, will have dirt kicked into his face.
It is the very search, and the excessive zeal of it, which causes the
truth to disappear. In our hot grasp the truth wilts away.


There is no one
Who dyes them,
But of themselves
The willow is green,
The flowers red.


If we just remain quiet, and live in all simplicity, no problems arise.


Were I a king, pensively
Would I pace the corridors of the palace.
The path I walk goes through the pine-trees;
The sea is blue, a butterfly flits by. ~ Miyoshi Tatsuji


Sengtsan attributes all our uneasiness, our dissatisfaction with
ourselves and other people, our inability to understand why we are
alive at all, to one great cause: choosing this and rejecting that,
clinging to the one and loathing the other.
There is a profound saying:


The flowers fall, for all our yearning;
Grasses grow, regardless of our dislike.


Other verses that express this fact of the life that comes from
the death of self and its wants and distastes, are the following:


Just get rid
Of that small mind
That is called "self",
And there is nothing in the universe
That can harm or hinder you.
How delightful it is
To make all space
Our dwelling place!
Our hearts and minds
Are perfectly at ease.


D.H.Lawrence says the same thing in "Kangaroo":


Home again. But what was home? The fish has vast ocean for home.
And man has timelessness and nowhere. "I won't delude myself with
the fallacy of home", he said to himself. "The four walls are a
blanket I wrap around in, in timelessness and nowhere, to go to
sleep".


ONLY WHEN YOU NEITHER LOVE NOR HATE
DOES IT APPEAR IN ALL CLARITY
There is love and Love, but only hate; there is no such thing as
Hate. In Love is included that which might be called Hate, what
Lawrence calls "the dark side of love". In so far as we love, in
the sense of being attached to a thing, we hate. In so far as we
Love, whether it be with pain or joy, the Way is walked in by us,
we are the Way. Ryoto, a pupil of Basho, says:


Yield to the willow
All the loathing,
All the desire of your heart.


Another didactic verse is the following:


In my hut this spring,
There is nothing,
There is everything.
~ Sodo ~ (1641-1716)


A HAIR'S BREADTH OF DEVIATION FROM IT,
AND A DEEP GULF IS SET BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH.
A miss is as good as a mile. The slightest thought of self, that
is, by self, and the Great Way is irretrievably lost. A drop of
ink, and a glass of clear water is all clouded. Once we think,
"This flower is blooming for me; this insect is a hateful
nuisance and nothing else; that man is a useful rascal; that
woman is a good mother, and she must therefore be a good wife",
-- when such thoughts arise in our minds, all the cohesion
between things disappear; they rattle about in a meaningless and
irritating way. Instead of being united into a whole by virtue of
their own interpenetrated suchness, they are pulled hither and
thither by our arbitrary and ever-changing preferences, out whims
and prejudices. We suppose this particular man to be a Buddha,
ourselves to be ordinary people, this action to be charming, that
to be odious, and fail to see how "All things work for good"
(Romans VIII, 28). In actual fact, Heaven and Earth cannot be
separated; one cannot exist without the other.
Together they are the Great Way.
The two points to bear in mind are first the nearness of the Way
and second, its corollary, the fact that we and the Way are not
two things. It seems so far that we can never attain to it:


Far, far from here
Is the Heavenly Land,
A million million miles away;
We can hardly get there
On just one pair of straw sandals.


But as Ikkyu punningly says:


Paradise is in the West;
It is in the East also.
Look for it in the North
That you came through,
It is all in yourself (the South).


[There is a pun on the Japanese words
*minami*, south, and *mina mi*, all oneself.]
The moment you place your happiness in the fulfillment of any want
or wish, that is, outside yourself, outside the Way, in anything
but the thing as it is, as it is becoming, at that moment your
balance is lost and you fall straight from Heaven to Hell.
Things are one; things are many. The intellect cannot grasp these
two simultaneously, but experience can, if it will. If we fall,
only by a hair's breadth, into the error of supposing that we are
different, weariness and envy and triumph and shame and fear
succeed one another in an endless train. We must be in the
condition that Paul describes:


Who is weak and I am not weak?
Who is offended and I burn not? (Corinthians, XI, 29)


If this state could only be attained, we can say of man with
Matthew Arnold in "A Summer Night":


How boundless might his soul's horizons be,
How vast, yet of what clear transparency.


IF YOU WANT TO GET HOLD OF WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE,
DO NOT BE ANTI OR PRO ANYTHING.
Since the Great Way is one, it is impossible for us to be for
this, and aiding that which needs no aid. There is a certain
current, a Flow of the universe. We may swim with it or against
it, float in the middle of the stream or stagnate in a
back-water, but nothing we can do will accelerate or retard that
Flow. Yet his Flow is not something separate from ourselves; it
is our own flowing; we are not corks bobbing up and down on a
stream of inevitability. It is not as Fitzgerald says:


The Ball no question makes of Ayes or Noes,
But Here or There as strikes the Player goes.


Or rather, it would be better to say that this is true, and that
Henley's words are equally true, not in alternation but
synchronously:


I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.


This submergence and assertion of self, this living fully without
taking sides which Sengtsan urges upon us, is the poetical life.
The unpoetical life is of two kinds. First, by aversion, we live
in a limited world, a half-world. Second, by infatuation, we
exaggerate, sentimentalize, weary by repetition.


THE CONFLICT OF LONGING AND LOATHING,
THIS IS JUST THE DISEASE OF THE MIND.
Something arises which pleases the mind, which fits in with our
notions of what is profitable for us, -- and we love it.
Something arises which thwarts us, which conflicts with our
wants, and we hate it. So long as we possess this individual
mind, enlightenment and delusion, pain and pleasure, accepting
and rejecting, good and bad toss us up and down on the waves of
existence, never moving onwards, always the same restlessness and
wabbling, the same fear of woe and insecurity of joy. So
Wordsworth say, in the "Ode to Duty":


My hopes must no more change their name.


In addition, the mirror of our mind being distorted, nothing
appears in its natural, its original form. The louse appears a
dirty, loathsome thing, the lion a noble creature. But when we
see the louse as it really is, it is not merely neutral thing; it
is something to be accepted as inevitable in our mortal life, as
in Basho's verse:


Fleas, lice,
The horse pissing
By my pillow.


It may be seen as something charming and meaningful as in Issa's haiku:


Giving the breast,
While counting
The flea-bites.


There is nothing intrinsically more beautiful or poetical about
the moon than about a dunghill; if anything, the contrary, for
the latter is full of life and warmth and energy.
The "Vaipulya-mahavyuha Sutra" says:


The lotus arises form the mud, but is not dyed therewith.


This is expressed less ambitiously in the following waka:


Just get rid of
The mind that thinks
"This is good, that is bad",
And without any special effort,
Wherever we live is good to live in.


Quite devoid of sententiousness or literary ambition, with no
longing or loathing, Basho's verse on the mountain violets:


Coming along the path,
There is something touching
About these violets.


NOT KNOWING THE PROFOUND MEANING OF THINGS,
WE DISTURB OUR (ORIGINAL) PEACE OF MIND TO NO PURPOSE.
When we are in the Way, when we act without live or hate, hope or
despair of indifference, the meaning of things if self-evident,
not merely impossible but unnecessary to express. Conversely,
while we are looking for the significance of things, it is
non-existent. Our original nature is one of perfect harmony with
the universe, a harmony not of similarity or correspondence nut of
identity. The "Tsaikentan" ("Seikontan") [By Hung Yingming. fl.
1600 A.D. A compound of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.]
says:


The mind that is free form itself, -- why should it look within?
This introspection taught by Buddha only increases the
obstruction. Things are originally one; why then should we
endeavour to unite them? Chuangtse preached the identity of
contraries, thus dividing up that unity.


PERFECT LIKE GREAT SPACE,
THE WAY HAS NOTHING LACKING, NOTHING IN EXCESS.
Without beginning, without end, without increase or decrease, the
Great Way is perfect, like a circle, with nothing too small in
the smallest thing, nothing too large in the largest. And this
perfection in the dew-drop and in the solar system we are
enabled to see, we are driven to see, by the perfection in
ourselves. Beyond all this confusion and asymmetry there is a
deep harmony and proportion without us and within us that
satisfies us when we submit to it, when we take it as it is, but
can never be perceived or conceived intellectually. This supreme
Form of Things is called "Formlessness" in the "Hannyashingyo":


All things are formless, without growth or decay, without purity
or sin, without increase or decrease.


In poetry the three are expressed as follows:


Age cannot wither her not custom stale
Her infinite variety.
("Anthony and Cleopatra", II, 2)
The young girl
Blew her nose
In the evening glory.
~ Issa ~
The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall;
the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall.
(Bacon, "Of Goodness")


In poetry as in life, too much soon wearies. This is why we turn
to Virgil, to Chaucer, to Basho. The circle expresses this
moderation however large or small it may be. In the Oxherding
pictures used in Zen, it portrays serenity. The circular mirror
is used in Shinto. Emerson has an essay on Circles.


TRULY, BECAUSE OF OUR ACCEPTING AND REJECTING,
WE HAVE NOT THE SUCHNESS OF THINGS.
Our state of mind is not to be fatalistic, saying of bad things,
"It can't be helped", and of good things, "What difference does
it make?" It must be to want what the universe wants, in the way
it wants it, in that place, at that time. This wanting *is* the
Way, this wanting *is* the suchness of things; there is no Way,
no suchness apart from it.
The suchness of things is what the poet is looking for, listening
to, smelling, and tasting. And in so far as he and we listen and
touch and see, the suchness has an existence, a meaning, a value.
Unless we taste the world, it is tasteless; it is void of
suchness. But this tasting is not to be a choosing, tasting some
and not tasting others. Hung Yingming, following Chuangtse, and
using almost the same words as Sengtsan, says:


All the things in heaven and earth, all human emotions,
all the things that happen in the world, when looked at
by the unenlightened eye, are seen as multifarious and
disparate. When viewed by the Eye of the Way, all this
variety is uniformity; why should we distinguish them,
why accept these and reject those?


NEITHER FOLLOW AFTER, NOR DWELL WITH
THE DOCTRINE OF THE VOID.
We are not to be beguiled by the senses, by the apparent
differences of things.


Rain, hail and snow,
Ice too, are set apart,
But when they fall, --
The same water
Of the valley stream.


On the other hand, we are not to fall into the opposite error of
taking all things as unreal and meaningless. This is the basis of
much of the poetical thinking of Swinburne, of Shelley and Byron.
It tinges the poetry of Matthew Arnold, Clough, Christina
Rossetti. It is the basis of all passive, quietistic thought.
Both these extreme views are wrong; Yungchia describes the
position in the following way:


Getting rid of things and clinging to emptiness
Is an illness of the same kind;
It is just like throwing oneself into a fire
To avoid being drowned.


IF THE MIND IS AT PEACE,
THESE WRONG VIEWS DISAPPEAR OF THEMSELVES.
Dogen has a waka:
Ever the same,
Unchanged of hue,
Cherry blossoms
Of my native place:
Spring now has gone.


Here the eternal and temporal, the unchanged and changing are
one, because the flowers are allowed to be the same colour as
always; they are allowed to fall as always. The flowers are not
separated, in their blooming and in their falling, from the poet
himself, nut neither is it a dream world, an eternal world where
all is vanity. It is a world of form and colour, of change and
decay, yet it is beyond time and place, a world of truth. A verse
by Gyosei Shonin,


All the various
Flowers of spring,
Tinted leaves of autumn,
Tokens in this world
Untainted with falsity.


The ordinary world and the world of reality are here one; life
and death are Nirvana. The great mistake of life and of poetry
is the desire to get away from things, instead of getting into
them, escaping form this world into the dream world. Yet even
this world of day-dreams, of escapist poetry, Wagnerian music
and pictures of Paradise, is also a way of life, is also, when we
realize it, the Great Way. Thus it is again that enlightenment is
ignorance, salvation is damnation, Heaven and Hell are one self
place.


WHEN ACTIVITY IS STOPPED AND THERE IS PASSIVITY,
THIS PASSIVITY AGAIN IS A STATE OF ACTIVITY.
The modern theories of repression may be taken as an example of
the meaning of this verse. When we thwart nature, suppress our
instincts, control our desires, the energy thus restricted and
yet augmented is still active, and may at any time burst forth
with volcanic force in some unsuspected direction.


Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.


In the poetic life precisely the same thing happens. Only the
charming, picturesque aspects of nature, only innocuous creatures
are described.
But this is only one half of life or less; this is not the Way at
all. But all day and every day, Nature is giving us all kinds of
experiences, ghastly as well as pleasant. Germs of disease are
attacking us, wives are unfaithful, children ungrateful, the
cesspool awaits us, cats catch mice, and men kill one another. In
tragic drama, a great deal of this is expressed, but in general
poetry, vast tracts are omitted. A glance at the list of subjects
for Haiku [See the author's "Haiku", four vols.] shows us how
limited they are. Here and there a snake shows its head, a
dustbin or a corpse appear, but these are rare until we come to
modern times.
But whatever the subject may be, there must be what Wordsworth
calls "a wise passiveness", that is, an active rest, such as we
find described in the following haiku:


I came to the flowers;
I slept beneath them;
This is my leisure.
~ Buson ~


In regard to everything, the double, compensatory use of things
must never be lost sight of. In summer, we like airy, spacious
rooms. but the ceiling is low and the walls press in on us. Let
us bear it gladly:


My hut has a low ceiling:
What happiness,
In this winter seclusion!
~ Buson ~


"Every ceiling is a good ceiling", not merely sometimes, but
always, for this means that it is good by the mere fact of being
what it is. And what is it? It is a no-ceiling, it is nothing, it
is everything, it is what we make it, -- and yet it is a ceiling,
and a low ceiling at that, in all the four seasons, hot in summer,
snug in winter.


REMAINING IN MOVEMENT OF QUIESCENCE,
HOW SHALL YOU KNOW THE ONE?
Not only movement and quiescence but enlightenment and illusion,
life and death and Nirvana, salvation and damnation, profit and
loss, this and that, -- all these are our lot and portion from
moment to moment, if we do not realize that the Great Way is one
and indivisible however we delude ourselves that we have divided it.


NOT THOROUGHLY UNDERSTANDING THE UNITY OF THE WAY,
BOTH (ACTIVITY AND QUIESCENCE) ARE FAILURES.
In other words, mere activity, activity without quiescence, mere
quiescence without its inner activity, are no good, neither has
its proper quality and function. Freedom is impossible without
law, man is nothing without God, illusion non-existent except for
enlightenment, this is this because that is that. ut freedom and
law, illusion and enlightenment, this and that are two names of
one thing. Unless this is realized (in practical life) none of
these is its real self. This is not this until and unless it is
that; only when the two are one are they really two.
In practical life, this means that the composure we feel at home
among our family, is only an illusion that is broken when we go
out into the world and meet with vexation and disappointment,
becoming irritated and depressed. Our activity when playing chess
is not the true activity, as we see when we are beaten and our
opponent's face and voice become hateful to us. It lacks the
balance that preserves the mind from spite though we properly
enough feel gloomy at losing.
In the poetical life it is equally important that we realize,
through each all of the senses, that true diversity is the unity.
Even in the scientific world, the nature, for example, of a
many-legged caterpillar is only understood when we know it is a
six-legged insect. The nature of feathers, skin, nails, scales,
and so on is perceives when we find that they are all one thing.
The poet delights is all the many names of things, because he
knows in his heart that as Laotse said,


The name that can be named is not an eternal name.


All the various
Difficult names, --
Weeds of Spring.
~ Shado


More specifically referring to the present verse of Sengtsan, we
may note that the poet has to regulate his creative and receptive
functions, that is, to unify them, otherwise the true fruit of
each will be list. On the one hand we get the effusions of
Swinburne, of Keats and Shelley, with their kaleidoscope of
words; on the other, the didactic and descriptive verses that
have nothing of the author in them, only the outside and shell of
things. A great many haiku suffer from the absence of the life of
the poet himself, whose abnegation is excessive, for example:


The thatcher
Is treading the fallen leaves
Over the bed-room.
~ Buson ~


IF YOU GET RID OF PHENOMENA, ALL THINGS ARE LOST;
IF YOU FOLLOW AFTER THE VOID, YOU TURN YOUR BACK
ON THE SELF-LESSNESS OF THINGS.
In this translation, the first is taken as things as they
appear to us, the second as Real Things; the first as
Emptiness, unreality, the second as the Real Self-less Nature
of things. If we suppose that all things are illusion, that
everything is meaningless in the ordinary sense of the word, we
are misunderstanding the doctrine that all is mind, and losing
our grasp on the reality outside us. The difficulty is to hold
firmly in the mind the two contradictory elements.
In the early morning we work out into the garden and see a spider
finishing its web. With skill and assiduity all is completed, and
it sits in the centre, a thing of beauty with its duns and deep
blue of arabesque designs. A butterfly flits by, drops too low
and is immediately struggling in the mesh. The spider, though not
hungry, approaches, seizes it in his jaws and poisons it. He
returns to the centre of the web, leaving a mangled creature for
a future meal. A nation conquers the then known world and
organizes it with intelligence and ability; a great man appears,
is caught and nailed to a cross, a spectacle for all ages and
generations. These two examples are identical, despite the
addition of intelligence, morality, and religion to the second.
Both are to be seen exactly in the same way though with differing
degrees of intensity. Whether your children are killed by God
(allias an earthquake) or by God (allias a robber) or by God
(allias old age) the killing is to be received in the same way.
One's attitude to the earthquake and to the robber as such is
different, since these two things are intrinsically different.
In the poetical attitude we must have the same lack of censure.
Our response to things must be similar to that of Maupassant,
Somerset Maugham, D.H.Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, in so far as they
have no hatred for the villains or love of the heroes.



Introduction
Page One ... Page Two ... Page Three ... Without Commentary ... Cleary Translation ... Shinjin-No-Mei D.T.Suzuki


A translation known as Faith Mind by Clark is a W.I.P.
as is the original Chinese


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