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Ceremonies: Long Readings for Afternoon: Relying on Mind – Sengcan


Relying on Mind —Sengcan   The Great Way is not difficult;  it just precludes picking […]

Relying on Mind



The Great Way is not difficult; 

it just precludes picking and choosing.

Without yearning or loathing, 

the Way is perfectly apparent,

But holding onto even a hair’s breadth of difference

separates heaven and earth.

To see the Way with your own eyes,

quit agreeing and disagreeing.

The battle of likes and dislikes—

This is the disease of the mind

Misunderstanding the great mystery,

people labor in vain for peace.

Mind is perfect like vast space

nothing lacking and nothing extra.

It’s just selecting and rejecting 

that make it seem otherwise.

Don’t pursue worldly concerns,

don’t dwell passively on emptiness;

Be at peace in the absolute oneness of things, 

and confusion vanishes all by itself.


Suppressing activity to reach stillness 

just creates agitation

People who don’t live in oneness

bog down on both sides—

Rejecting form, they get stuck in it,

seeking emptiness, they turn away from it.

The more people talk and ponder,

the further they spin out of accord

Bring gabbing and speculation to a stop

and the whole world opens up to you.

If you want the essence, get right to the root;

chasing reflection, you lose sight of the source.

Turning the light around for an instant

takes us beyond becoming, abiding, and decay.

The changing phases, the ups and downs,

all result from misunderstanding.

There’s no need to seek the truth—

just stop worshiping your opinions!


Don’t live within dualism, 

take care not to pursue it.

As soon as you have right and wrong

the mind is lost in confusion.

The two exist because of the one

but don’t cling to oneness either.

If your mind is not disturbed with such things

the ten thousand things are all flawless.

In this flawlessness there’s nothing at all,

no disturbance, no mind.

The subject disappears with its objects,

objects vanish without a subject.

In one emptiness, the two are not distinguished,

and each contains in itself all the ten thousand things.


The Great Way is by nature calm and large hearted,

not easy, not difficult,

but quibbling and hesitating,

the more you hurry, the slower you go.

holding onto things wrecks your balance,

inevitably throwing you off course,

But let everything go, be genuine,

and the essence won’t leave or stay.

Accept your nature, accord with the Way

and stroll at ease, free from annoyance.

Tying up thoughts denies reality,

and you sink into a stupor of resistance

Resisting thoughts perturbs the spirit!

why treat what’s yours as foreign?

If you want to enter the One Vehicle,

don’t disdain the six senses.

Not disdaining the six senses,

that’s enlightenment itself.


Since things aren’t different in essence,

it’s stupid to hanker and cling.

Trying to control the mind by using the mind,

isn’t that a great error too?

Delusion creates calm and chaos,

enlightenment entails no good and evil.

Every opposition under the sun 

just comes from your thoughts.

Like dreams, illusions, spots before your eyes—

why bother grasping at them?

Gain and loss, right and wrong—

let them go, once and for all.

If you don’t fall asleep,

dreams cease on their own.

If you don’t conjure up differences

the ten thousand things are all of one kind.

In the essential mystery of oneness,

eternal and ephemeral are forgotten.

Seeing the ten thousand things in their oneness,

we return to the origin where we have always been.


Without grounds or criteria,

we can’t be judged or compared.

Still or active, nothing moves,

and active or still, nothing ceases.

Here in the harmonious, serene mind

all effort subsides.

Doubt is completely gone,

and what’s true remains.

Nothing hangs in the mind,

there’s nothing to remember;

Empty, luminous, genuine,

the mind is at ease.


In the world of things as they are

there is neither self nor other.

To reach accord with it at once

just say, “not two!”

Without duality, all beings are the same,

not a single one excluded.

Here hurry and delay have no bearing;

an instant is ten thousand years.

Here and not here don’t apply either.

everywhere is right before your eyes.

One in all, all in one – If only this is realized, 

no more worrying about being holy or wise! 

Relying on mind, there is no separation,

with no separation, you can rely on your mind.

This is where words fail—

no past, no future, no present.


(Version by Rachel Boughton,

 based on D.T. Suzuki, Nelson Foster and Stephen Mitchell)