October 20, 2014

Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series II

Chant of the Heart's Impression

This is an exquisite truth:
Saints and ordinary folks are the same from the start.

Eventually there's a difference between them.
You don't borrow string when you've got a good strong rope.

Every Dharma is known in the heart.
After the rain, the mountain color intensifies.

Once you become familiar with the design of fate's illusions
Your ink slab will contain all of life and death.

 


Search for Truth

1.
Experience Chan! It's not mysterious.
As I see it, it boils down to cause and effect.
Outside the mind there is no Dharma
So how can anybody speak of a heaven beyond?

2.
Experience Chan! It's not a field of learning.
Learning adds things that can be researched and discussed.
The feel of impressions can't be communicated.
Enlightenment is the only medium of transmission.

3.
Experience Chan! It's not a lot of questions.
Too many questions is the Chan disease.
The best way is just to observe the noise of the world.
The answer to your questions? Ask your own heart.

4.
Experience Chan! It's not the teachings of disciples.
Such speakers are guests from outside the gate.
The Chan which you are hankering to speak about
only talks about turtles turning into fish.

5.
Experience Chan! It can't be described.
When you describe it you miss the point.
When you discover that your proofs are without substance
You'll realize that words are nothing but dust.

6.
Experience Chan! It's experiencing your own nature!
Going with the flow everywhere and always.
When you don't fake it and waste time trying to rub and polish it,
Your Original Self will always shine through brighter than bright.

7.
Experience Chan! It's like harvesting treasures.
But donate them to others. You won't need them.
Suddenly everything will appear before you,
Altogether complete and altogether done.

8.
Experience Chan! Become a follower who when accepted
Learns how to give up his life and his death.
Grasping this carefully he comes to see clearly.
And then he laughs till he topples the Cold Mountain ascetics.

9.
Experience Chan! It'll require great skepticism;
But great skepticism blocks those detours on the road.
Jump off the lofty peaks of mystery.
Turn your heaven and earth inside out.

10.
Experience Chan! Ignore that superstitious nonsense
That makes some claim that they've attained Chan.
Foolish beliefs are those of the not-yet-awakened.
And they're the ones who most need the experience of Chan!

11.
Experience Chan! There's neither distance nor intimacy.
Observation is like a family treasure.
Whether with eyes, ears, body, nose, or tongue -
It's hard to say which is the most amazing to use.

12.
Experience Chan! There's no class distinction.
The one who bows and the one who is bowed to are a Buddha unit.
The yoke and its lash are tied to each other.
Isn't this our first principle... the one we should most observe?

 


Mountain Living

Mountain living! There's deep meaning here!
A place where your spirits open up without limit.
Lean on a pine trunk for your pillow.
Wake from your nap and make yourself some tea.

Mountain living! No guests arriving!
The path through the bamboo grove is locked in smoke and mist.
Near the front door a clear brook flows
The wind carries small flowers on the water.

Mountain living! Spring comes so early.
Plum blossoms are everywhere you look.
Their subtle fragrance captures the attention of your nose.
See or smell the slanting branch just outside the window.

 


Clearing Your Heart of Obstacles

Since there's no such thing as form
There can't be image, either.
How then can obstacles arise?

Safe within this principle
Bodhidharma was secure.

 


Song of Walking Standing Sitting Lying

Walking in the mountains
You step through clouds at the tip of the ridge
And seen in the reflected light
The earth has not a speck of dust.

Standing in the mountains
You avoid the road of life and death
You can open your eyes and see a thousand saints
But they don't turn to look at you.

Sitting in the mountains
You spend the whole long day like this
Sitting till you wear through the mat
No word of any teaching drops into your lap.

Lying in the mountains
You imagine you've a mule or horse beneath you.
You'll get through. Master is an old man.
He knows the way by heart.

 


Describing the Glorious Layman Lin Guangqian

From reciting Buddhist chants
He became a complete Buddha.
Whether moving or still, busy or resting,
There's never the slightest variation.

He chants to the point where his heart is not scattered.
He is the Dharma King.
This means he presides over every creature on earth!
(Do you realize that this makes us all members of his family?)

 


Floating on West Lake with the Truly Venerable Xi Tian Mu

Through this impenetrable fog
His mind surges confidently.
Who steers this boat?
His heart - clear as the Autumn water
His body - pure and undefiled as the white clouds.
Being with him is just like being immersed in the True Emptiness;
Why in my breast do I cling to the dross of worldly problems?
This trusted master has the Three Secret Powers.
Can I not, with him, roam the oceans and the heavens?

 


Traveling Mount Jun
... (a mountain in Hunan) which is in central China
and no where near the Indian border ...

That year, the Indian border was opened...
That day, I was able to climb Mount Jun.
The clouds were clear and all the peaks exquisite
The forests, high and nestled in the shadows.
I called out and the echo of my voice startled a bird from its dreams.
The soughing of the pines became a song of Chan.
I came to a cave; and in the water floor of its hall
My heart became clear, reflecting both its heaven
And its earth.

 


On Living at Yun Yi Shi
(a place name which means "the stone moved by the clouds")

I like it best when I'm living out in the open,
As in the old days when I'd forget the years were passing,
When I'd follow where fate led me.
I thought nothing could change me.

But the Pearl of the Heart works in such an exquisitely subtle way.
It fills you. .. makes you feel complete with Heaven's Nature.
There's no need to move.

Before the beginning of this senseless world
The clouds moved this fist of a stone right here
To this very place.

 


On Living in a Cave of Stone

A stone cave. That's the ultimate in cleanliness and refinement. But live alone. Don't concern yourself with the business of life. Get a round mat made of rushes. Take a meditation pose and sit.

Then, the body will become like just so many bubbles. The wheels of life will roll into timelessness. When you enter deepest meditation Your Inner Being will be wrapped in Being, Itself.

The great material world will vanish. How could those grains of sand remain?