希遷『參同契』節錄 – abstract of Zen classic

I restudied the history of Caodong and Linji school, then I wonder…

Maybe it’s my preference in Zen, especially in Caodong school, sometimes making me have hard time to study “business", such a hoi polloi but quintessential thing. Anyway, I re-read “参同契" by 希遷, and gained a new perspective. The high school me was a Heart Sutra believer and I couldn’t understand 参同契…

Still, I disagree it says that all languages are the same because people’s thinking is the same in nature. It’s psychologically and linguistically wrong. Opus…not very Zen…

門門一切境 迴互不迴互
迴而更相渉 不爾依位住
色本殊質象 聲元異樂苦
暗合上中言 明明清濁句
四大性自復 如子得其母

當明中有暗 勿以暗相遇
當暗中有明 勿以明相覩
明暗各相對 比如前後歩

觸目不會道 運足焉知路
進歩非近遠 迷隔山河固
謹白參玄人 光陰莫虚度

Here’s my sense-for-sense translation:

People have 6 senses to perceive external world and to know the difference self and others. If we can’t feel the difference and the interactions between self and others, we may encage ourselves in an internal individual world. However, we must treat self and others equally, there’s no bad or good. We know the difference, so we live. At the same time, we know we are part of the nature, and we are the same (being part of the nature).

When we separate self from nature, we may think it’s like the cause vs effect, but sometimes we feel they are the same. Still, they are not identical. Nature and phenomena, they are indeed different. However, there’s no point to decide which thing is nature and which thing is phenomena. Our life is based on the pair, based on duality.

Stop focusing on the separation (everything’s different) or the identity (=everything’s the same). We should just do the right things, walk on the human path. Don’t waste your time.

How pragmatic and I am in awe. This is what I need more than Heart Sutra at this life stage. PS: It’s a bit unique to most Buddhism classics. Most of them focus on “identity", like Heart Mantra.

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