Thursday, August 6, 2015

Silent Illumination

"Mozhao ming" - Silent Illumination, Serene Reflection or Stillness and Brightness by Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157), a Chinese Chan Buddhist monk.

In stillness and serenity words are forgotten,
What is before me appears in bright clarity.
Looking closely things become spacious,
Feeling deeply life becomes vibrant.

Life's vibrancy is bright of itself,
This brightness reveals the wonder:
Moonlight in the dew, stars in a river,
Snow on the pines, clouds on a peak.

Through darkness things are bright and
Through concealment they are ever more manifest -
A crane dreaming in the winter mist,
Autumnal waters, sounding from afar.

Endless kalpas are utterly empty
And all is totally the same.
When wonder dwells within the stillness,
Striving is forgotten within the brightness.

What is this wonder?
Seeing through confusion, awake and with clarity.
The practice of stillness and bright awareness
Is the foundation for setting the subtlest appearance free.

Truly seeing the subtlest thing, it is set free.
Like a golden shuttle through a loom of dark jade
The true and the partial yield to one another,
Light and darkness bring each other forth.

When neither subject nor object is relied upon,
At such basic time, they merge and
We drink the medicine of right views,
And beat the poison-clearing drum.

That time when subject and object are merged,
Activity and passivity are present in me.
Going through the gate, the true body emerges
And there is fruit at the end of the branch.

Stillness alone is the supreme word,
Brightness alone, the universal response.
Responding without meritorious purpose,
Speaking whether heard or not.

All things throughout the universe
Shine with majesty and speak the Dharma.
Every one of them is proving the true,
Each of them asks and answers.

Proving the true in communication
They respond to each other just right.
When the insight lacks in stillness,
Harshness appears.

In communication, proving the true,
The response is just right, accordingly.
When the stillness lacks in brightness,
Dullness results in a waste of Dharma.

When you have perfected stillness and brightness,
The lotus blossoms and the dreamer wakes up;
All the streams flow into the ocean
Every mountain faces the highest peak.

You're like the goose that goes straight for the milk, not for water,
And like the bee that picks out the choicest flowers for nectar.
When you have perfected stillness and brightness,
I offer the seal of our lineage.

This practice of bright stillness
Pervades from the top of our heads to the soles of our feet:
The body expresses emptiness,
The arms and hands form mudras.

From beginning to end there is one task,
Though it is expressed in a myriad forms:
One man offers a treasure to someone
Who does not recognize it,
Another tricks the treasure back from a beneficiary who does.

Within life's motion there is a regulating principle,
This great function involves no effort:
While the emperor stays within his realm,
The generals go beyond the borders.

The basic matter of our school
Is to be straight and true.
Pass this on in all directions
Without a wish for gain.

Translated by Hakuun Barnhard

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