The Song of Enlightenment
The Song of Enlightenment / By Ch'an Master Hsuan Chuen of Yung Chia. This Ancient
Buddha was the Dharma Successor of Hui-Neng and also the
Dharma Successor of Master T'ien Kung who was the 7th
Patriarch of the T'ien T'ai Sect. Yung Chia is called the
"Overnight Enlightened One" by those who dwell at Ts'ao Ch'i.
Do you not know the ease of the man of the Way who has gone
beyond learning, and whose state is "non-action"
Who neither suppresses thoughts, nor seeks the "Truth?"
To him the reality of ignorance is the Buddha Nature;
The empty illusory is the Dharmakaya.
When one who is awakened to the Dharma-body, there are no
The essence of all things comes from the self-nature -- Buddha!
The Five Aggregates --- mere floating clouds aimlessly coming
The Three Poisons --- bubbles that appear and disappear.
When Reality is attained, there is neither ego nor object,
And within that instant, the karma of eternal suffering is wiped
If this is a lie to deceive living beings,
For ages as numberless as dust, let my own tongue be plucked
When the mind is once awakened to the Ch'an of the
The Six Paramitas are also fully perfect, as are the Ten
Thousand Expedient Means .
In dreams, the Six Realms are vivid;
When one awakens, not even a Universe of Universes can be
There are no sins, and no loss or gain,
Nothing can be found in Nirvana's midst.
It is like a mirror from which the dust has never been polished
Now is the moment for all this to be openly decided.
Who can be without thought?
And who is without birth?
Then the "not-born" is real, so is the "not-not-born.
Ask a wooden puppet when it will attain Buddhahood by
Release the Four Elements: cling to nothing!
And in the midst of Nirvana you may eat and drink!
Seeing that all things are not lasting and are Void,
One attains the Great Perfect Enlightenment of the
A true monk is completely decided....
If you are not convinced, ask me frank questions.
To be in accord with the Buddha-sealed: Go to The Root!
I have no help for those who search for twigs.....
The Mani-pearl is not known to men
It lies in the Tathagata Storehouse, and
Its Six-fold Function is beyond "is" or "is not"
From it comes One Perfect Light -- it is not formed and yet not
To purify the five types of vision and pain the five powers,
One must personally realize that which is beyond conception.
It is easy to recognize images in a mirror,
But who can grasp the Moon from the Water?
One like this always walks alone, for one is always alone.
Every Perfectedl One travels the One Same Path of Nirvana.
Following tradition, his "ch'i" is clear, his spirits high,
And, if his appearance is dishevelled and his body hardened,
who will take notice?
Sons of the Buddha are always poor.
Poverty is of the body: Not of the Mind of the Way!
His body is wrapped in rags,
But his Way-mind possesses the priceless gem.
This rare gem is used without restrictions
To assist others, or respond to accessions as required.
The Three Bodies and the Four Wisdoms are prefected within
The Six Powers and Eight Manners of liberation by realizations
are impressed on it.
Superior men are awakened to one, and awake to all.
Men of lesser ability learn some, and are skeptical to the rest.
Destroy your dirty garments!
How can one be boastful about externals?
Let yourself be criticized and abused,
Those who lift torches to burn Heaven just tire themselves!
I listen to them, and it is nectaI
I am then able to instantly enter the Realm Beyond Conception.
Because of this, offensive words are a blessing,
And the speaker...my good friend!
Without the mind accepting slander and abuse,
How could it manifest the Compassion of the Unborn?
Penetrate both the Transmission and the Teachings
And Dhyana and Wisdom will be perfect and unhindered by the
I am not alone in coming to this...
This is the realization of all the Buddhas, a number as counties
as the sands of the Ganges.
Speak without fear ---- The Lion's Roar!!!
At who's sound all beasts tremble with fright.
Even fragrant elephants drop their sedate strolls and lose their
The Heavenly [)ragon alone listens in silence and calm joy.
I have crossed many rivers and mountains
Searching for Masters to instruct in the secrets of Ch'an,
But then I came to know the Path of Ts'ao Ch'i Hui-Neng,
And, I are no longer concerned with birth and death.
Do not stray from "Walking is Ch'an, sitting is Ch'an"
Essentially at ease whether talking or remaining silent, moving
or staying still.
It is serene even when greeted with sharp weapons.
And is not worried about poisons.
Our Master only met with Dipamkara Buddha after many eons
Of disciplining himself as a "one who suffers in a state of
Going through how many repetitions of Birth and Death;
Since my Instantaneous Awakening to the "Law of No-birth,"
I have lost the sorrow of disgrace and the joy of success.
I stay in a hut on the mountain, beneath the high peak of the
I sit quitely and without cares in this monk abode, and light
heartedly enjoy the stillness.
When you are awakened, that is all: no striving is needed.
There is nothing common between "this" and the way of the
Charity given with attachment earns rewards of Heaven, but
this is still like shooting an arrow into the sky;
When the force is depleted, the arrow falls: distasteful things
Compare this to the "Non-active Reality,"
above all things,
Which allows the instantaneous entry
into the Tathagata Stage.
Take hold of the root and do not worry about the branches; It
is like a crystal pool reflecting the bright moon.
Now, realizing what the Mani-pearl is, you should use it to
benefit yourself and others without ceasing.
The moon reflected on the stream, the breeze in the
Where is the disturbance on this quiet night?
The Sila Gem of the Precepts which is within the Buddha Nature
stamps itself on the Mind-ground,
And, One's garments are now fog, dew, and clouds
One's Bowl of the sort that subdues Dragons;
One's Staff of the kind that separates Tigers by clear sound of
its twin rows of metal rings.
These are not mere symbols, the relics of history,
But the distinctive traces of the Tathagata's Holy Staff.
Do not seek the real nor despise the false,
Both are dualities: Fundimentally E mpty and Void.
That which is Not Empty nor Void, but is "Not-not empty"
Is the Tathagata's genuine form.
The Mind is a Mirror that reflects the Pure Bright Light Without
As it penetrates Worlds as numberless as the sands of the
In it, the diversify of the Universes appear,
Shining like perfect gems; neither inside nor outside.
Do not grasp the Void, nor reject the Law of Karma;
This causes confusion and surely brings troubles.
The same is true regarding the error of rejecting "is" and
grasping "what is not."
This is like leaping into a fire to escape from drowning!
When you attempt to obtain the true by rejecting the false,
One makes the error of artifice, and gives rise to the
discriminating Mind .
If a disciple does this with his training,
He will mistake a thief for his own son.
The losing of merit and the destruction of Dharma-wealth
Comes solely from the relative and discriminatory mind.
Because of this, Ch'an followers are taught to look thoroughly
So that they can instantly realize "No-birth" and the Buddha
A man of great "ch'i" uses the Wisdom Sword
Whose flaming Vajra-Blade cuts all.
It destroys not only the heterodox attitude,
But it also gives flight to spiritual evils.
He rolls the Dharma Thunder and beats the Dharma Drum,
Raising clouds of compassion from which nectar pours down.
Dragons and Elephants come to bless countless beings,
And the Three Vehicles carry the five types of beings.
The Milk from the Himalayas is pure and nourishing, I enjoy the
refined butter that is made from it!
The One Nature perfectly pervades all others, The One Dharma
enfolds all other dharmas,
The One Moon is reflected by all waters, The Dharma-Pody of
all Buddhas pervades my nature;
I am united with the Tathagatas.
When this stage is attained, so then, are all others.
It is neither form, nor mind, nor act; and,
The Eighty Thousand Dharma Doors are prefected in a snap of
In but a moment, the Three Endless Ages are wiped out.
Propositions and Logic are not this, and they have nothing in
common with my transcendental Wisdom
Because it is beyond either praise or censure,
And its substance is without boundries.
Yet, it is always present when we retain serenity: only when
looked for is it gone.
It can not be grasped, nor let go of,
But, if you do neither,
It goes its own way.
If you remain silent, it will speak: Speak and it is silent.
Its Charitable Gate is wide open.
If I am asked about what teaching I understand, I call it the
Power of Great Wisdom,
And no man can say that I am wrong or right;
Even the Devas can not agree!
I have spent many long eons in Self-Cultivation
And do not speak lightly to deceive.
I have hoisted the Dharma Banner and proclaimed the
Teaching of our Sect.
This is the same as the Buddha commanded Hui-Neng Ts'ao
Ch'i to proclaim.
Mahakasyapa was the first in the line of Transmission,
Twenty-eight Patriarchs followed Him, moving ever Eastward.
The Dharma reached the Middle Kingdom where Bodhidharma
was again the First Patriarch,
That Six Generations inherited ills Robe and countless persons
realized the Way from this is well known.
Do not establish the "real" and the "false" is never formed.
When "existence" and "non-existence" are wiped out, there is
also no longer a "not-empty."
From the first, there have not been the Twenty Forms of
Because the Tathagata's One Nature encompasses them all.
The Mind is a sensory organ ... things are its objects.
This duality is like dust on the mirror.
Wipe away the dust and the mirror shines brightly.
Mind and object vanish when the Self Nature is understood.
Alas! This is the Dharma Ending Age, and the world is full of
Beings are ill fortuned and discipline is difficult.
The Sage has long passed and perverted views are deep.
Evil demons grow strong as the Dharma grows weak, hatred is
But, when they hear of the Tathagata's Dharma Teaching of
They regret not having smashed it like broken tiles.
When the Mind acts,
the body suffers ills;
Do not blame or accuse others for this.
If you want to avoid the Karma of Continuous Suffering,
Do not speak ill
of the Tathagata's Right Dharma Wheel.
Other trees do not grow in a sandalwood forest,
And among the thick growths, lions alone live.
Alone and at ease in their own quiet and familiar places
From which all other birds and beasts have fled.
It is only the lion cubs that follow in these footsteps,
And, when reaching the age of three years, they too roar.
How can jackals hope to follow the King of the Dharma?
Ever, after one hundred years, they open their mouths in vain!
The teaching of instantaneous Perfection is beyond the World's
When a single doubt is left, it must be resolved.
I say this, not because I cling to "self" and "other,"
Instead, I fear that your practice will be trapped by
"permanence" or "impermanence ."
"Right" is not right, nor is "wrong" wrong:
If you miss this by the slightest, you will miss by a thousand
The Dragon Maiclen who believed instantly attained the Buddha
The scholarly Shang Using did not, and was reborn in Hell.
In my youth, I gathered much knowledge, searching the
Sutras, Sastras, and Commentaries;
I endlessly analyzed names and forms, a task as vain as
counting sands on the Ocean Floor.
I was severely admonished by the Buddha, who asked, " What
is the profit in counting other persons' treasures?"
Then, I fully realized the futility of my greatest efforts and the
aimless travelling about that I had done.
Due to perverse natures and wrong views,
The Tathagata's method of Instantaneous Perfection is not
Those of the Hinayana exert themselves enough, but lack the
The wise are intelligent, but lack Wisdom.
In their ignorance and shallow understanding,
They mistake the pointing finger of the empty hand for the
Their efforts are lost like idle dreamers
in the world of sense and object.
When one encounters the realm of "no-forms, " one can see
the Tathagata, and,
Only then can one truly be called a "Regarder of the Cries of
Once this is understood, the hindrances of karma become
When there is no such understanding, karma's full price is
It is like a hungry man refusing to eat a royal feast,
Or the sick refusing medicine sent by the Great Physician; How
can they be cured?
While in the World of Desires, Ch'an practice is the most
Like a Lotus that can bloom in the midst of the fire.
Yung-shih broke grave prohibitions,
yet awoke to the Uncreate,
And, thereupon attained Buddhahood
many ages ago.
Teach the Doctrine of Fearlessness as loudly as the lion roars;
Pity those with confused, perverse, inflexible minds.
They are only able to understand that breaking important
precepts causes obstructions to Wisdom,
And, they are unable to realize the profound secret of the
Once two Monks broke grave precepts: one by killing, the other
Both confessed to Upali, but his own insight was but a feeble
glow and he only made the matter worse by exaggeration.
Thereupon, Mahasattva Vimalakirti wiped out the doubts of
And, both grief and doubt melted like frost beneath the hot sun.
This power of emancipation is beyond thought,
and works wonders as numberless as the sands of the Ganges.
To such a one, the offering of the Four Necessities is given
Indeed, he returns for them Ten Thousand pieces of gold
without incurring a debt !
Our body and bones may be crushed to a powder,
and we could still not repay enough for these words
that enable us to bypass
Hundreds of Thousands of Ages.
This is the King of Dharmas -- Unsurpassed!
Tathagatas beyond all number have testified to this attainment.
I now have correctly explained the "Mani-pearl," and,
Those who understand this are now in harmony with it.
To him who sees clearly, there is not a thing to be seen;
There is not a man here, nor is there a Buddha.
The Universe of Universes is but a bubble in the sea,
All the Saints and Sages are but flashes of lightning.
Even as the Hot-Wheel of Iron revolved over my head,
The Perfect Brightness of Meditation and Wisdom is unaltered.
The Sun may turn cold and the Moon hot by the powers of
But, they can not alter a word of this truthful teaching.
When the stately cart is pulled by elephants up the hill,
How can a preying mantis hope to stop its progress?
As great elephants can walk in the foot--tracks of rabbits,
The Great Waking goes beyond the power of intellect.
Do not attempt to measure Heaven
with a small piece of reed for a measuring stick;
If you do not have this insight,
this Song of mine is to settle the matter for you.