Song of Enlightenment




TEXT:

THE MIND IS THE ROOT; DHARMAS ARE THE DUST.
THE TWO ARE LIKE STREAKS ON A MIRROR.
WHEN THE STREAKS ARE ENTIRELY REMOVED, LIGHT BEGINS TO APPEAR.
WHEN MIND AND DHARMAS ARE BOTH FORGOTTEN.
THEN THE NATURE IS TRUE.

COMMENTARY:

THE MIND IS THE ROOT, DHARAS ARE THE DUST. In the mind consciousness which carelessly blazes forth in the defiled minds of ordinary people, the six outer sense-organs (the eyes, ears, nose, tongue,budy, and mind), come into contact with the dust of dharmas (forms, sounds, smells, tastes. objects of touch, and dharmas).

THE TWO ARE LIKE STREAKS ON A MIRROR. The defiled mind and the dust of dharmas are like dirty stains on a bright mirror.

WHEN THE STREAKS ARE ENTIRELY REMOVED, LIGHT BEGINS TO APPEAR. Light is able to manifest once the dirty streaks are entirely gone.

WHEN MIND AND DHARMAS ARE BOTH FORGOTTEN, THEN THE NATURE IS TRUE. When the defiled mind and the dust of dharmas are completely purified, what appears is the brilliant, inherent nature of True Suchness.

TEXT:

ALAS! IN THE EVIL TIME OF THE DHARMA-ENDING AGE,
LIVING BEINGS' BLESSINGS ARE SLIGHT; IT IS DIFFICULT TO TRAIN THEM.
FAR INDEED FROM THE SAGES OF THE PAST!
THEIR DEVIANT VIEWS ARE DEEP. DEMONS ARE STRONG,
THE DHARMA IS WEAK; MANY ARE THE WRONGS AND INJURIES.

HEARING OF THE DOOR OF THE THUS COME ONE'S SUDDEN TEACHING, THEY HATE NOT DESTROYING IT AS THEY WOULD SMASH A TILE, THE DOING IS IN TNE MIND;
THE BODY SUFFERS THE CALAMITIES, THERE'S NO NEED FOR UNJJST ACCUSATIONS THAT SHIFT THE BLAME TO OTHERS.
IF YOU DON'T WISH TO INVITE THE KARM;A OF THE UNITERMITTENT.
DO NOT SLANDER THE THUS COME ONE'S PROPER DHARMA WHEEL.

COMMENTARY:

ALAS! IN THE EVIL TIME OF THE DHARMA-ENDING AGE. Alas! The minds of people today are not like those of the ancients. Their virtue in the way has fallen into ruin in this autumn of the Dharma-ending age. It is the evil time of the Five Turbidities.

LIVING BEINGS' BLESSINGS ARE SLIGHT; IT IS DIFFICULT TO TRAIN THEM. Living beings do not know how to plant good roots and to tend their blessings to fruition. Because their blessings are slight and their wisdom shallow, they are hard to train and hard to tame.

FAR INDEED FROM THE SAGES OF THE PAST! THEIR DEVIANT VIEWS ARE DEEP. The proper Dharma Age has already passed, and it has been even longer since the Buddha was in the world. Living beings jave defiled habits and deviant views, the roots of which are deep and the stems of which are firm. It is hard to pull them out.

DEMONS ARE STRONG, THE DHARMA IS WEAK; MANY AGRE THE WORNGS AND INJURIES. The retinues of the Demon Kings are stronger every day, and the Buddhadharma every day is weakened. In a thousnad directions there are hundreds of plots; injustices and enmity prevail, as thieves seek to harm one another, taking turns at revenge.

HEARING OF THE DOOR OF THE THUS COME ONE'S SUDEN TEACHING. When they hear about this Dharma door of sudden transcendence.

THEY HATE NOT DESTROYING IT AS THEY WOULD SMASH A TILE. They hate it that they cannot immediately cause this Dharma door of the sudden Teaching tobe destroyed as one would smash a ceramic tile to bits.

THE DOING IS IN THE MIND; THE BODY SUFFERS THE CALAMITIES. Offenses are created in the mind, but then the retribution of calamities and disasters is with the body.

THERE'S NO NEED FOR UNJUST ACCUSATIONS THAT SHIFT THE BLAME TO OTHERS. One cannot suppose so hurl curses at the heavens and blame other people. Therefore, IF YOU DON'T WISH TO INVITE THE KARMA OF THE UNITERMITTENT. That is, if you do not wish to invite and receive the karmic retribution of falling into the unintermittent Hells.

DO NOT SLANDER THE THUS COME ONE'S PROPER DHARMA WHEEL. Be sure not to slander the Proper Dharma Wheel of the Thus Come One!

TEXT:

IN THE CHANDANA FOREST THERE ARE NOT OTHER TREES
DEEP IN THE DENSE AND LUSURIANT VEGETATION THE LION DWELLS.
IN THE QUIETUDE OF THE FOREST HE ROAMS ALONE.
BEASTS THAT WALK AND BIRDS THAT FLY ALL GO FAR AWAY.

COMMENTARY:

IN THE CHANDANA FOREST THERE ARE NO OTHER TREES. (Note: The Chandana, or Sandlewood, Forest is an analogy for the highest state). Only this one, highest Dharma is my practicde; there are no other Dharma-doors. Thus the verse says, "There are no onthers."

DEEP IN THE DENSE AND LUXURIANT VEGETATION THE LION DWELLS. This highest Dharma-door is like the dense, luxuriant depths of forest vefetation, where the kion has its dwelling.

IN THE QUIETUDE OF THE FOREST HE ROAMS ALONE. In this state of purity, it roams by itself freely and at ease. There is no noise or disturbance there.

BEASTS THAT WALK AND BIRDS THAT FLY ALL GO FAR AWAY. All the wild beasts that walk and birds that fly go far away in haste to avoid it. The lion is like the Dharma Kingd, and the beasts that walk and birds that fly are like the ordinary people and those of sects of outside ways.

TEXT:

THE LION'S CUBS TOGETHER FOLLOW ALONG.
THREE YEARS, AND THEN THEY TOO CAN LOUDLY ROAR,
SHOULD JACKALS PURSUE THE DHARMA KING,
THEY ARE HUNDRED YEAR-OLD GOBLINS WHO OPEN THEIR MOUTHS IN VAIN.

COMMENTARY:

THE LION'S CUBS TOGETHER FOLLOW ALONG. All those with the seed-nature of the Buddha's Great Vehicle, cultivators of Bodhisattva practices, people with the seed-nature for cultivating the Great Vehicle, follow after him in order to learn and practice.

THREE YEARS, AND THEN THEY TOO CAN LOUDLY ROAR. The nature of their roots is deep and thick, and the power of their wisdom is fully developed, so that even though they have not cultivated for very long, they can go ahead and spread the Dharma and benefit living beings.

SHOULD JACKALS PURSUE THE DHARMA KING. If those who do not have the root-nature of the Great Vehicle--those who are like jackals and other beasts--should chase afoter the Dharma King.

THEY ARE HUNDRED YEAR-OLD BOBLINS WHO OPEN THEIR MOUGHS IN VAIN. They are merely cintury-old monsters who open their mouths to no avail, and who have no other skills at all.

TEXT:

THE COMPLETE AND SUDDEN TEACHING IS WITHOUT SENTIMENT,
IF THERE IS DOUBT AND INDECISION, YOU SHOULD CONFRONT
IT DIRECTLY.
IT IS NOT THAT THE MOUNTAIN SANGHAN INDULGES IN SELF AND OTHERS;
IT'S ONLY TO BE FEARED CULTIVATORS MIGHT FALL INTO THE PIT OF NIHILISM OR ETERNALISM.

"WRONG" IS NOT WRONG; "RIGHT" IS NOT RIGHT.
ERRING BY A HAIR'S BREADTH, ONE MISSES BY A THOUSAND MILES.
"RIGHT" WAS THE DRAGON-MAIDEN'S SUCCENLY ACHIEVING BUDDHAHOOD;
"WRONG" WAS GOOD STAR'S SINKING AND FALLING WHILE ALIVE.

COMMENTARY:

THE COMPLETE AND SUDDEN TEACHING IS WITHOUT SENTIMENT. The Dharma-door of the Complete and Sudden Teaching includes and unites the oceans of teachings and their measureless Dharma-doors. In it, there is not so much as a hair's breadth of sentimental influence.

IF THERE IS COUBT AND INDECISION, YOU SHOULD CONFRONT IT DIRECTLY. If there is any principle which is not yet understood, or some remaining doubt and indecision, then the matter must be straightforwardly discussed so that true principle can be clarified.

IT IS NOT THAT THE MOUNTAIN SANGHAN INDULGES IN SELF AND OTHER. By no means am I, the mountain Sanghan, falsely indulging in views of self and others or of right and wrong.

IT'S ONLY TO BE FEARED CULTIVATORS MIGHT FALL INTO THE PIT OF NIHILISM OR ETERNALISM. It is to be feared that people who cultivate the way will not understand True Principle, and will confound black and white and right and wrong. By becoming attached to nihilism or eternalism, they will fall into a pit.

"WRONG" IS NOT WRONG; "RIGHT" IS NOT RIGHT. In every cause and condition, and in cultivation and certification, there is right within the wrong, and there is also wrong within the right. It is a matter of whether the cultivator has fully developed his Selective Dharma Eye.

ERRING BY A HAIR'S BREADTH, ONE MISSES BY A THOUSAND MILES. If one is off by a hair's breadth, then one is certain tomiss by a thousand miles. How can one not be careful and serious in these matters?

"RIGHT" WAS THE DRAGON-MAIDEN'S SUDDENLY ACHIEVING BUDDHAHOOD. The Dragon-maiden presented her pearl as as offering to the Thus Come One, and immediately evidence the result of Buddhahood.

"WRONG" WAS GOOD STAR'S SINKING AND FALLING WHILE ALIVE. Good Star slandered the Dharma, inverting right and wrong. H:is retribution was immediately received; he fell alive into the suffering of the hells. In this matter of distinguishing right and wrong, cultivators should be especially wary.

TEXT:

IN MY EARLY YEARS, I SET OUT TO ACQUIRE LEARNING,
AND I STUDIED COMMENTARIES AND INQUIRED INTO SUTRAS AND SHASTRAS.
DISTINGUISHING AMONG TERMS AND CHARACTERISTICS,
I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO STOP.

ENTERING THE SEA TO COUNT THE SANDS I EXHAUSTED MYSELF IN VAIN.
BUT THE THUS COME ONE REPRIMANDED THIS FOLLY:
WHAT BENEFIT IS THERE IN COUNTING OTHER'S TREASURES?!
UNSUCCESSFUL ALL ALONG, I FELT I HAD PRACTICED IN VAIN.
MANY YEARS I WASTED AS A TRANSIENT, LIKE DUST IN THE WIND.

COMMENTARY:

IN MY EARLY YEARS, I SET OUT TO ACQUIRE LEARNING. Here the Great Master Yung Chia speaks about himself. "In the past, when I was young, I amassed a great deal of learning and sought after knowledge. I cultivated the teachings and contemplations of the T'ien T'ai. I never felt tired; I never wearied of it."

AND I STUDIED COMMENTARIES AND INQUIRED INTO SUTRAS AND SHASTRAS. I also research the commentaries and explanations of the ancient worthies, as well as the doctrines and principles of the Tripitaka (the Sutras, the Vinaya, and the Shastras).

DISTINGUISHING AMONG TERMS AND CHARACTERISTICS, I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO STOP. All day long I made distinctions among the meanings of manes and characteristics, not knowing how to stop, wasting mu time futilely, letting the months and years slip by. How lamentable!

ENTERING THE SEA TO COUNT THE SANDS I EXHAUSTED MUSELF IN VAIN. It was like entering the great sea to try to count the sand in it, to the last grain. How could it be done? In the sea of teaching, the terms and characteristics are as numerous as the sands of the ocean. Therefore, he says, "I exhausted myself in vain."

BUT THE THUS COME ONE REPRIMANDED THIS FOLLY. I forsook the root to pursue the branches, searching far outside, for I did not kniw that I should turn the light around and illumine within. Therefore, I was scolded by the Thus Come One.

WHAT BENEFIT IS THERE IN COUNTING OTHERS' TREASURES? Counting others' jewels all day long, without even half a penny of your own, is a mistakes; it is failure to cultivate the Dharma. To cultivate the way, one must actually practice it personally and not pass one's time emptily, vainly wasting the months and years.

UNSUCCESSFUL ALL ALONG, I FELT I H;AD PRACTICED IN VAIN. From the beginning, I had gone nowhere with my time; I had wastede the years. There was not a hair's breadth of achievement. I felt that a whole life of practice was for nothing.

MANY YEARS I WASTED AS A TRANSIENT, LIKE DUST IN THE WIND. For many years I hurried to the east and ran tothe west, interviewing in the south and paying visits in the north; wandering the wrong roads, uselessly, like a transient who is dust in the wind. Alas! What a shame, and how sorrowful! We should ponder these words.

TEXT:

WHEN THE NATURE OF THESEED IS DEVIANT, ONE'S KNOWLEDGE
AND UNDERSTANDING WILL BE WRONG.
ONE WILL NOT ATTAIN THE THUS COME ONE'S COMPLETE AND
SUDDEN MEASURE.
THOSE OF THE TWO VEHICLES ARE VIGOROUS, BUT LACK THE
HEART OF THE WAY.

THOSE OF EXTERNAL PATHS MAY BE INTELLIGENT, BUT THEY LACK WISDOM. THEY ARE STUPID, PETTY, AND FOOLISH.
THEY MISTAKE THE EMPTY FIST AND POINTING FINGER AS PRODICING GENUINE KNOWLEDGE;
BUT BECOMING ATTACHED TO THE FINGER AS BEING THE MOON IS WASTE OF EFFORT.

AMIDST THE DHARMAS OF SENSE ORGANS' STATES,
IT IS BLAMEWORTHY TO MAKE EMPTY FABRICATIONS.
NOT TO PERCEIVE A SINGLE DHARMA: THIS IS THE THUS COME ONE.
THEN ONE MAY BE CALLED "ONE WHO CONTEMPLATES AT EASE."

ONCE ONE HAS UNDERSTOOD, KARMIC OBSTRUCTIONS ARE BASICALLY EMPTY.
BEFORE ONE HAS UNDERSTOOD, DEBTS FROM THE PAST MUST BE REPAID.
THE FAMISHED ENCOUNTER THE ROYAL BANQUET, YET CANNOT EAT.
THE SICK MEET THE PHYSICIAN KING, YET HOW CAN THEY BE CURED?

COMMENTARY:

WHEN THE NATURE OF THE SEED IS DEVIANT, ONE'S KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING WILL BE WRONG. When the seed is improperly planted or cultivated, the root-nature will be deviant. One's views and understanding will be wrong, but one will suppose them to be correct, and one won't know to reform.

ONE WILL NOT ATTAIN THE THUS COME ONE'S COMPLETE AND SUDDEN MEASURE. Since one's knowledge and understanding are wrong, one cannot see clearly and penetrate through to the mind-dharma of the world honored One, to the great measure and degree of the wonderful principle of the Perfect and Sudden, where one fathoms the essential path from beginning to end.

THOSE OF THE TWO VEHICLES ARE VIGOROUS, BUT LACK THE HEART OF TE WAY. Though the dull-rooted Arhats of the Two Vehicles practice with vigor, they lack the wisdom to awaken to the way.

THOSE OF EXTERNAL PATHS MAY BE INTELLIGENT, BUT THEY LACK WISDOM. The intelligence of most people who take side doors and external paths does mot go beyond worldly knowledge and cleverness in debate. By no means is it Ultimate, Perfect, Sudden, and Genuine Wisdom.

THEY ARE STUPID, PETTY, AND FOOLISH. They are stupid, and yet self-satisfied. They are base, yet they like to act authoritatively. They do not like to learn with an open mind, and do not have the earnestness to learn from those beneath them. Like animals, their behavior ia vague and dull. This describes the dull-rooted living beings, who all consider themselves to be extraordinary.

THEY MISTAKE THE EMPTY FIST AND POINTING FINGER AS PRODUCING GENUINE KNOWLEDGE. It is like the Buddha's empty fist that saved the little child, or like seeing the moon because of the finger that pointed to it. How could anyone who comes later gain genuine understanding from an empty fist or a pointing finger?

BUT BECOMIG ATTACHED TO THE FINGER AS BEING THE MOON IS A WASTE OF EFFORT. If one becomes attached to the pointing finger as being the moon--not realizing that the finger is basically not the moon, but that one merely makes use of the finger to see the moon--then one might cultivate the way for a myriad aeons, but it would be a total waste of effort.

AMIDST THE DHARMAS OF SENSE ORGANS' STATES, IT IS BLAMEWORTHY TO MAKE EMPTY FABRICATIONS. The dharmas of the states of the six sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind)< and their objects--forms, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, and dharmas--are empty fabrications, and imaginary creations.
NOT TO PERCEIVE A SINGLE DHARMA: THIS IS THE THUS COME ONE. The eighty-four thousand Dharma-doors are all established to counteract the sicknesses of the eighty-four thousand kinds of afflictions of living beings. When their diseases are cured, the medicines have no furhter use. It is the same with the Buddha's speaking Dharma.

THEN ONE MAY BE CALLED "ONE WHO CONTEMPLATES AT EASE." Those who can speak the Dharma, and the Dharma that is spoken, are in substance basically empty, and completely without a nature of their own. Upon awakining to the basic substance of the sourcd of the Dharma,not a single dharma is established, and the ten-thousand dharmas are all thus. One totally understands the great functions of the entire substance. And when people and dharmas are both forgotten, this is contemplating at ease.

ONCE ONE HAS UNDERSTOOD, KARMIC OBSTRUCTIONS ARE BASICALLY EMPTY. After one has understood the mind and seen the nature, there are basically no karmic obstructions in the inherent nature. When this principle is understood, one knows that all karmic hindrances are basically empty, formless, shapeless, and without a nature of their own.

BEFORE ONE HAS UNDERSTOOD, DEBTS FROM THE PAST MUST BE REPAID. If one has not yet been able to understand this principle of the original source of all dharmas, then one will be summoned by one's past karma to undergo the retribution.

THE FAMISHED ENCOUNTER THE ROYAL BANQUET, YET CANNOT EAT. The Buddha is like a king. Although he has rare delicacies of a hundred flavors at his table, no one dares eat of them if the king does not permit it.

THE SICK MEET THE PHYSICIAN KING, YET HOW CAN THEY BE CURED? The Buddha is like a physician king; although he ahs woderful. life-prolonging medicine, people who have no wisdom are unwilling to take it. How then can their illnesses be cured?

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