Song of the Mind (Xin Ming) by Niutou Farong (594-657)
Translated by Master Sheng Yen

The nature of the mind is non-arising,
What need is there of knowledge and views?
Originally there is not a single dharma;
Why discuss inspiration and training?

Coming and going without beginning;
Sought for, it is not seen.
No need to do anything;
It is bright, still, self-apparent.

The past is like empty space;
Know anything and the basic principle is lost.
Casting a clear light on the world,
Illuminating, yet obscured.

If one-mindedness is impeded,
All dharmas are misunderstood.
Coming and going thus,
Is there need for thorough investigation?

Arising without the mark of arising,
Arising and illumination are the same.
Desiring to purify the mind,
There is no mind for effort.

Throughout time and space nothing is illuminated;
This is most profound.
Knowing dharmas is non-knowing;
Non-knowing is knowing the essential.

Using the mind to maintain quietude,
You still fail to leave the sickness.
Birth and death forgotten—
This is original nature.

The highest principle cannot be explained;
It is neither free nor bound.
Lively and attuned to everything,
It is always right before you.

There is nothing in front of you;
Nothing, yet everything is as usual.
Do not belabor wisdom to examine it;
Substance itself is empty and obscure.

Thoughts arise and pass away,
The preceding no different from the succeeding.
If the succeeding thought does not arise,
The preceding thought cuts itself off.

In past, present and future, there is nothing;
No mind, no buddha.
Sentient beings are without mind;
Out of no-mind they manifest.

Distinguishing between profane and sacred,
Their vexations flourish.
Splitting hairs deviates from the eternal.
Seeking the real, you give up the true.

Discarding both is the cure,
Transparent, bright, pure.
No need for hard work or skill;
Keep to the actions of an infant.

Clearly knowing,
The net of views increases
Stillness without seeing,
Not moving in a dark room.

Wakeful without wandering,
The mind is tranquil yet bright.
All phenomena are real and eternal,
Profuse, yet of a single form.

Going, coming, sitting, standing,
Don’t attach to anything.
Affirming no direction,
Can there be leaving and entering?

There is neither unifying nor dispersing,
Neither slow nor quick.
Brightness and tranquillity are just as they are.
They cannot be explained in words.

Mind is without alienation;
No need to terminate lust.
Nature being empty, lust will depart by itself.
Allow the mind to float and sink.

Neither clear nor clouded,
Neither shallow nor deep.
Originally it was not ancient;
At present it is not modern.

Now it is non-abiding;
Now it is original mind.
Originally it did not exist;
“Origin” is the present moment.

Bodhi has always existed;
No need to preserve it.
Vexation has never existed;
No need to eliminate it.

Natural wisdom is self-illuminating;
All dharmas return to thusness.
There is no returning, no receiving;
Stop contemplating, forget keeping.

The four virtues are unborn;
The three bodies have always existed.
The six sense organs contact their realms;
Discrimination is not consciousness.

In one-mindedness there are no wandering
The myriad conditions harmonize.
Mind and nature are intrinsically equal;
Together, yet one does not necessarily lead to
the other.

Without arising, complying with phenomena,
Abiding, hidden everywhere.
Enlightenment arises from non-enlightenment.
Enlightenment is non-enlightenment.

As to gain and loss,
Why call either good or bad?
Everything that is active
Originally was not created.

Know that mind is not mind;
There is no sickness, no medicine.
When in confusion, you must discard affairs;
Enlightened, it makes no difference.

Originally there is nothing to obtain;
Now what use is there in discarding?
When someone claims to see demons,
We may talk of emptiness, yet the
phenomena are there.
Don’t destroy the emotions of people;
Only teach the cessation of thoughts.

When thoughts are gone, mind is abolished;
When mind is gone, action is terminated.
No need to confirm emptiness;
Naturally, there is clear comprehension.

Completely extinguishing birth and death,
The profound mind enters into principle.
Opening your eyes and seeing forms,
Mind arises in accord with the environment.

Within mind there is no environment;
Within the environment there is no mind.
Use mind to extinguish the environment
And both will be disturbed.

With mind still and environment thus,
Not discarding, not grasping,
Environment is extinguished together with mind.
Mind disappears together with environment.

When neither arises,
There is tranquillity and limitless brightness.
The reflection of bodhi appears
In the eternally clear water of mind.

The nature of merit is like a simpleton:
It does not establish closeness and distance.
Favor and disgrace do not change it;
It doesn’t choose its abode.

All connections suddenly cease;
Everything is forgotten.
Eternal day is like night,
Eternal night, like day.

Outwardly like a complete fool,
Inwardly mind is empty and real.
Those not moved by the environment
Are strong and great.

There are neither people nor seeing.
Without seeing there is constant appearance.
Completely penetrating everything,
It has always pervaded everywhere.

Thinking brings unclarity,
Sinking and confusing the spirit.
Use mind to stop activity
And it becomes even more erratic.

The ten thousand dharmas are everywhere,
Yet there is only one door.
Neither entering nor leaving,
Neither quiet nor noisy.

The wisdom of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas
Cannot explain it.
Actually there is not a single thing;
Only wonderful wisdom exists.

The original face is limitless;
It cannot be probed by mind.
True enlightenment is no enlightenment,
Real emptiness is not empty.

All buddhas of the past, present and future
All ride on this basic principle.
The tip of a hair of this basic principle
Contains worlds numerous as the Ganges sands.

Do not concern yourself with anything;
Fix the mind nowhere.
Fixing the mind nowhere,
Limitless brightness shows itself.

Tranquil and non-arising,
Set free in boundless time and space.
Whatever it does, there is no obstruction.
Going and staying are equal.

The sun of wisdom is tranquil,
The light of samadhi is bright.
Illuminating the garden of no forms,
Shining on the city of nirvana.

After all relationships are forgotten,
Spirit is understood and settled in substance.
Not rising from the dharma seat,
Sleeping peacefully in a vacant room.

Taking pleasure in Dao is calming,
Wandering free and easy in reality.
No action and nothing to attain,
Relying on nothing, manifesting naturally.

The four unlimited minds and the six paramitas
Are all on the path of one vehicle.
If mind is not born,
Dharmas will not differ from one another.

Knowing arising is non-arising,
Eternity appears now.
Only the wise understand,
No words can explain enlightenment.

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