The Mind-Heart Inscription

Third Patriarch Hsin-Ming's Mind Inscription

心性不生何須知見  The nature of the mind is un-born. Why should it be necessary to know this?
本無一法誰論薫錬  Fundamentally there is not one single phenomenon; who then can speak about defilement and purification?
住返無端追尋不見  There is no end to coming and going, and no matter how much one seeks, one will never realize it!
一切莫作明寂自現  When everything is inactive, then the bright stillness will manifest by itself.
前際如空知處迷宗  Before one it will be like emptiness, and thereby one will know how to dispose with confused doctrines.
分明照境隨照冥蒙  Distinguishing clearly the circumstances one will illumine the dark and hidden.
一心有滯諸法不通  If the One Mind is obstructed, then all the dharmas will not have a penetrating effect.
去來自爾胡假推窮  Spontaneously coming and going, what use is it exhausting oneself?
生無生相生照一同  As life has the mark of the un-born, it will illumine the oneness.
欲得心淨無心用功  If one wishes to obtain purity of mind, then one must diligently cultivate no-mind.
縱横無照最爲微妙  To have no mental reflections high and low, this more than anything else is the marvelous!
知法無知無知知要  One will know the dharma (the Buddha's teaching) through non-knowing, as this non-knowing will know the essentials.
將心守靜猶未離病  By grasping the mind and maintaining stillness, one will still not be able to leave behind the sickness (of clinging).
生死忘懷即是本性  In life and death one must forget that which one is attached to, then there and then the fundamental nature (will manifest, shine forth etc.).
至理無詮非解非纏  The highest principle has no explanation, (one will be able to attain to it without) getting rid of anything and without restraining oneself.
靈通應物常在自前  Spiritual penetration and responding to affairs will constantly take place there and then,
目前無物無物宛然  Before one there will not be a thing, and "not a thing" will be a matter of course.
不勞智鑒體自虚玄  If you do not strive for the Mirror of Wisdom, then its essence will be wondrously empty of itself.
念起念滅前後無別  Thinking arises and thinking goes away, before and after there is no discrimination.
後念不生前念自絶  The latter thought is not produced as the former is cut off by itself.
三世無物無心無佛  In the Three Worlds there is not a thing: neither mind nor Buddha.
衆生無心依無心出  All living beings are (products) of no-mind, and depend upon no-mind to come into existence.
分別凡聖煩惱轉盛  Discriminating between worldly and holy will cause vexations in abundance.
計校乖常求眞背正  Constantly calculating and making plans amounts to searching for the truth while turning one's back to reality.
雙泯對治湛然明淨  If one puts an end to the two extremes (of being and non-being), then one will be both bright and clear.
不須功巧守嬰兒行  It is not necessary to observe infantile practices diligently.
惺惺了知見網轉彌  Through awareness one will gain knowledge, and when seeing the net (of samsara) one will turn around and stop.
寂寂無見暗室不移  In Samâdhi there is nothing to be seen, for in a dark room there is no movement.
惺惺無妄寂寂明亮  In awareness there is no falsity, in samadhi there is clear brightness.
萬象常眞森羅一相  The myriad shapes are all true, all having the majestic one characteristic.
去來坐立一切莫執  Going and coming, sitting and standing cannot be grasped.
決定無方誰爲出入  With no fixed place, who (can be said) to come and go?
無合無散不遲不疾  No coming together and no breaking up, neither slowly nor hasty.
明寂自然不可言及  The bright stillness is self-so and words speak about it!
心無異心不斷貪淫  If in the mind there is nothing different from the mind, one does not have to stop desire.
性空自離任運浮沈  As its nature is empty, it will disappear if it is allowed to drift on.
非清非濁非淺非深  Neither pure nor defiled, neither shallow nor deep.
本來非古見在非今  Originally the past is not, and just now, the present is not!
見在無住見在本心  Just now there is non-abiding and that is the original Mind.
本來不存本來即今  When one does not hold on to the origin, then the origin will be present.
菩提本有不須用守  Bodhi originally is, (that is why) it is not necessary to maintain it.
煩惱本無不須用除  Vexations are fundamentally non-existing, therefore it is not necessary to do away with them!
靈知自照萬法歸如  The spiritual wisdom shines forth by itself, and the myriad phenomena return (to the source).
無歸無受絶觀忘守  Nothing to revert to and nothing to receive. Cut off opinions and forget about the precepts!
四徳不生三身本有  The Four Virtues are un-born, and the Three Bodies are fundamentally existing.
六根對境分別非識  The Six Roots (just) face the circumstances and (clear or direct) perception has nothing to do with consciousness.
一心無妄萬縁調直  Then the mind will have nothing wrong and the ten thousand causes will directly harmonize.
心性本齊同居不攜  The mind and the feelings are basically of the same source, they coexist without interfering with each other.
無生順物隨處幽棲  The un-born is in accordance with phenomena, together they dwell and rest in the dark.
覺由不覺即覺無覺  Enlightenment comes from that which is not enlightened, therefore enlightenment is non-enlightenment!
得失兩邊誰論好惡  Gain and loss are like the two sides of a coin. Who can then speak about good and bad?
一切有爲本無造作  All that is caused, is originally the product of the un-born.
知心不心無病無藥  The knowing mind is not the Mind, (the true Mind is something which) neither disease nor medicine can effect.
迷時捨事悟罷非異  In times of confusion just let things go their way, because when awakening is accomplished, they will not be different (from your self).
本無可取今何用棄  Fundamentally nothing can be grasped; now what will you throw away?
謂有魔興言空象備  Speaking of existence is to give in to demons, for with words empty images arise!
莫滅凡情唯教息意  Do not wipe out worldly feelings. The only teaching that you should be concerned about, is how to do away with ideas!
意無心滅心無行絶  Ideas will be annihilated by no-mind, and mental states will be cut off by non-activity.
不用證空自然明徹  There is no use trying to verify emptiness; spontaneously it will shine forth!
滅盡生死冥心入理  Extinguishing both life and death, the profound Mind enters the (ultimate) principle.
開目見相心隨境起  Just open your eyes and behold the forms, letting your mind go along with the arising circumstances.
心處無境境處無心  If the mind abides in no-circumstances, then the circumstances abide in no-mind.
將心滅境彼此由侵  Then when the mind is about to annihilate the circumstances, they will go along with the annihilation.
心寂境如不遣不拘  The mind will be quiet and the circumstances just the same. One will neither have to let go nor to hold on.
境隨心滅心隨境無  When circumstances go along with the mind they will be extinguished, and the mind which follows circumstances is nothingness.
兩處不生寂靜虚明  Both abide in the un-born, still purity and empty brightness!
菩提影現心水常清  Awakening appears like a shadow in the mind's water, which is constantly clear.
徳性如愚不立親疎  The nature (or disposition) of the virtuous is like stupidity, for it does not set up any separation between this and that.
寵辱不變不擇所居  They are not moved by either grace or dishonor, and do not choose a (fixed) place to dwell.
諸縁頓息一切不憶  If all causes are put to rest, then one will cease to worry about them!
永日如夜永夜如永  If one does not discriminate, then an eternal day can be like a night, and an eternal night can be like a day.
外似頑 内心虚眞  When seen from the outside it seems as if one is wayward and stupid, however within the mind is vacant and in communion with reality.
對境不動有力大人  Adverse conditions will not move one, and one will have the power of an accomplished being.
無人無見無見常現  There will be neither seer nor the seen, then that non-seeing will be perpetually manifested.
通達一切未嘗不   Penetrating everything, constantly being everywhere.
思惟轉昏汨亂精魂  Thinking will cause confusion, and confusion will give rise to all kinds of emotions.
將心止動轉止轉奔  If by grasping the mind one tries to stop agitation, then with this movement the mind will be even more active.
萬法無所唯有一門  The myriad phenomena have no base, there is only the One Door.
不入不出非靜非喧  This is the door of neither entering nor leaving, of neither stillness nor disturbance.
聲聞縁覺智不能論  The wisdom of 'Srâvakas and Pratyeka-buddhas can not fathom this.
實無一物妙智獨存  In reality not one thing exists, the wonderful wisdom alone remains. Circumstances are fundamentally empty.
本際虚沖非心所窮  It is not something which the mind can exhaust.
正覺無覺眞空不空  True enlightenment is non-enlightenment, and real emptiness is not empty!
三世諸佛皆乘此宗  All the Buddhas of the Three Times teach this doctrine.
此宗毫未沙界含容  This teaching is like a particle of dust; worlds as numerous as sand grains in the Ganges are contained therein!
一切莫顧安心無處  If one does not occupy oneself with everything, then the peaceful mind will have nowhere to abide.
無處安心虚明自露  The peaceful mind will be non-abiding, and the empty brightness will manifest by itself!
寂靜不生放曠縱横  The quiet stillness is un-born, and one will be free to roam in all directions.
所作無滯去住皆平  Whatever one does there will be nothing to obstruct one. In motion and in rest, all will be equal.
慧日寂寂定光明明  The sun of prajnâ is still, the light of samâdhi is bright;
照無相苑朗涅槃城  (They are) the bright park of no mark (laksana) and the clear city of nirvâna.
諸縁忘畢詮神定質  In all causes one should be un-mindful of the fruit; it can be likened to the quality of the spiritual samâdhi.
不起法座安眠虚室  Do not set up platforms for teaching; but take a peaceful nap in an empty house.
樂道恬然優遊眞實  One will find happiness in the Way, with plenty of space to roam about in True Reality.
無爲無得依無自出  Nothing to do, nothing to obtain, and depending upon nothing, the self will manifest.
四等六度同一乘路  The Four Virtues and the Six Parâmitâs all belong to the path of the One Vehicle.
心若不生法無差互  When the mind in this way is not produced, then all the phenomena also will not be wrong.
知生無生現前常住  Knowing that life is un-born, before one it will constantly remain thus.
智者方知非言詮悟  Those with wisdom will know this, but no amount of words can explain this kind of awakening!

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