The teaching of Thusness
Has been intimately communicated by Buddhas and Ancestors;
Now you have it, so keep it well.
A silver bowl heaped with snow,
A heron fading into bright moonlight—
They look alike, but are not the same;
When placed side by side, you can see which is which.
Meaning is not in words,
Yet it yields to the inquiring spirit.
To discriminate becomes a pitfall;
To fall into hesitation is to let slip.
Turning away and touching are both wrong,
For it is like a mass of fire.
To express it in elegant words
Is to defile it.
It is bright at midnight;
At dawn there appears no light.
It acts as a guide for beings—
Its use removes all sorrow.
Although it is not fabricated,
It is not inexpressible.
It is like facing a jewel mirror;
Form and image behold each other—
You are not it.
It actually is you.
It is like a babe in the world,
In five aspects complete;
It does not go or come,
Nor rise, nor stand.
In saying “baba wawa,”
Using words that are not words,
Ultimately nothing is grasped,
Because speech is not precise.
It is like the six lines of the double split hexagram;
The relative and Absolute integrate—
Piled up, they make three;
The complete transformation makes five.
It is like the taste of the five-flavored herb,
Like the diamond thunderbolt.
Subtly included within the True,
Inquiry and response come together.
Communing with the Source and communing with the process,
It includes integration and includes the road.
Merging is auspicious; do not violate it.
Naturally Real, yet inconceivable,
It belongs neither to delusion nor enlightenment.
When the time is ripe and conditions are arranged,
In utter silence it shines brightly.
In its fineness it enters spacelessness;
In its greatness it has no location.
A hair’s breadth of deviation
Puts ev’rything out of tune.
Now there are sudden and gradual,
In connection with which are set up basic approaches.
Once basic approaches are distinguished,
Then there are guiding rules.
But even though the basic is reached and the approach comprehended,
Truth eternally flows.
Outwardly still while inwardly restless,
Like a tethered colt, a trapped rat—
The ancient teachers pitied them,
And transmitted the Dharma.
According to their delusions,
They called black as white—
When erroneous imaginations cease,
The acquiescent Mind realizes itself.
If you want to conform to the ancient Way,
Please observe the ancients of former times:
When about to fulfill the Way of Buddhahood,
One gazed at a tree for ten aeons,
Like a tiger leaving part of its prey,
Like a horse with hobbled hind legs.
Because there is the base, there are
Jewel pedestals, fine clothing;
Because there is the startlingly different,
There are house cat and cow.
Yi, with his archer’s skill,
Could hit a target at a hundred paces;
But when arrow points meet head on,
What has this to do with the power of skill?
When the wooden man begins to sing,
The stone woman gets up to dance;
It’s not within reach of feeling or discrimination—
How could it admit of consideration in thought?
Ministers serve their lord,
Children obey their father.
Not obeying is not filial,
And not serving is no help.
Practice secretly, working within,
As though a fool, like an idiot—
If you can achieve continuity,
This is called the host within the host.