Faith in Mind

The third Chinese ancestor in the Soto Zen lineage is Seng Ts’an, better known to us by the Japanese version of his name: Kanchi Sosan (died 606CE). Attributed to him is the poem Hsin Hsin Ming or Faith in Mind.

The following verse is taken from Rev. Master Hubert’s translation of the poem, which he called That Which is Engraved upon the Heart That Trusts to the Eternal. It is published in the book Buddhist Writings, currently out of print. Another translation, by D.T. Suzuki, is available online here.

There is no need to hunt for Truth,
simply stop exhaling personal opinions;
Cease your abiding in dualistic views
and take care not to chase after them
or seek them out
For, as soon as “right” and “wrong” arise,
confusion sets in and your thoughts will go awry.
The two exist because of the One
but do not try to hold on to this One.

In this poem, Seng Ts’an exhorts us to let go of the ideas and concepts that the discriminatory mind is so fond of, and trust that the Truth we seek is to be found in the absence of our views and opinions about It. I very much encourage you to read the complete poem.

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