By Dongshan Liangjie (Jap. Tôzan Ryôkai) (807-869)
The dharma of thusness
Is intimately transmitted
By Buddhas and ancestors;
Now you have it, preserve it well.
A silver bowl filled with snow
A heron hidden in the moon.
Taken as similar, they are not the same
Not distinguished, their places are known.
The meaning does not reside in the words,
But a pivotal moment brings it forth.
Move and you are trapped
Miss and you fall into doubt and vacillation.
Turning away and touching are both wrong,
For it is like a massive fire.
Just to portray it in literary form
Is to stain it with defilement.
In darkest night it is perfectly clear
In the light of dawn it is hidden.
It is a standard for all things
Its use removes all suffering.
Although it is not constructed,
It is not beyond words.
Like facing a precious mirror;
Form and reflection behold each other.
You are not it,
But in truth it is you.
Like a newborn child,
It is fully endowed with five aspects:
No going, no coming,
No arising, no abiding;
Is anything said or not?
In the end it says nothing,
For the words are not yet right.
In the illumination hexagram,
Apparent and real interact,
Piled up they become three,
The permutations make five.
Like the taste of the five-flavored herb,
Like the five-pronged vajra.
Wondrously embraced within the real,
Drumming and singing begin together.
Penetrate the source,
Travel the pathways;
Embrace the territory,
Treasure the roads.
You would do well to respect this;
Do not neglect it.
Natural and wondrous,
It is not a matter of delusion or enlightenment.
Within causes and conditions, time and season,
It is serene and illuminating.
So minute it enters where there is no gap,
So vast it transcends dimension.
A hairsbreadth’s deviation,
And you are out of tune.
Now there are sudden and gradual,
In which teachings and approaches arise.
When teachings and approaches are distinguished,
Each has its standard.
Whether teachings and approaches are mastered or not,
Reality constantly flows.
Outside still and inside trembling,
Like tethered colts or cowering rats,
The ancient sages grieved for them,
And offered them the dharma.
Led by their inverted views,
They take black for white.
When inverted thinking stops,
The affirming mind naturally accords.
If you want to follow in the ancient tracks,
Please observe the sages of the past.
One on the verge of realizing the Buddha Way
Contemplated a tree for ten kalpas;
Like a battle-scarred tiger,
Like a horse with shanks gone gray.
Because some are vulgar,
Jeweled tables and ornate robes;
Because some are wide-eyed,
Cats and white oxen.
With his archer’s skill Yi
Hit the mark at a hundred paces,
But when arrows meet head-on,
How could it be a matter of skill?
The wooden man starts to sing;
The stone woman gets up dancing.
It is not reached by feelings or consciousness,
How could it involve deliberation?
Ministers serve their lords,
Children obey their parents;
Not obeying is not filial,
Failure to serve is no help.
With practice hidden, function secretly,
Like a fool, like an idiot;
Just to do this continuously is called
The host within the host.