Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Song of the Jeweled Mirror Samadhi

The Song of the Jeweled Mirror Samadhi

Tozan Ryokai

 - Ch'an Master Tung-shan Liang-chieh

The teaching of suchness, is given directly,
Through all buddha ancestors,
Now that it's yours, keep it well.

A serving of snow in a silver bowl,
Or herons concealed in the glare of the moon
Apart, they seem similar, together, they're different.
Meaning cannot rest in words,
It adapts itself to that which arises.
Tremble and you're lost in a trap,
Miss and there's always regrets.

Neither reject nor cling to words,
Both are wrong; like a ball of fire,
Useful but dangerous. Merely expressed
In fine language, the mirror will tarnish.

At midnight truly it's most bright
By daylight it cannot still be seen.
It is the principle that regulates all,
Relieving every suffering.

Though it doesn't act it is not without words.
In the most precious mirror
Form meets reflection:
You are not It, but It is all you.

Just as a baby, five senses complete,
Neither going or coming, nor arising or staying,
Babbles and coos: speech without meaning,
No understanding, unclearly expressed.

Six lines make the double li trigram,
Where principle and appearances interact.
Lines stacked in three pairs
Yet transform in five ways.

Like the five flavors of the hyssop plant
Or the five branches of the diamond scepter,
Reality harmonizes subtly just as
Melody and rhythm, together make music.

Penetrate the root and you fathom the branches,
Grasping connections, one then finds the road.
To be wrong is auspicious,
There's no contradiction.

Naturally pure and profoundly subtle,
It touches neither delusion nor awakening,
At each time and condition it quietly shines.

So fine it penetrates no space at all,
So large its bounds can never be measured.
But if you're off by a hair's breadth
All harmony's lost in discord.

Now there are sudden and gradual schools
With principles, approaches so standards arise.
Penetrating the principle, mastering the approach,
The genuine constant continues outflowing.

A tethered horse, a mouse frozen in fear,
Outwardly still but inwardly whirling:
Compassionate sages freed them with teaching.

In upside down ways folks take black for white.
When inverted thinking falls away
They realize mind without even trying.

If you want to follow the ancient path
Then consider the ancients: the buddha,
Completing the path, still sat for ten eons.

Like a tiger leaving a trace of the prey,
Like a horse missing the left hind shoe,
For those whose ability is under the mark
A jeweled footrest and brocaded robe.
For others who still can manifest wonder
There's a house cat and cow.
Yi the archer shot nine of ten suns
From the sky, saving parched crops,
Another bowman hit targets at hundreds of paces:
These skills are small to compare with that in which
Two arrow points meet head on in mid air.
The wooden man breaks into song,
A stone maiden leaps up to dance,
They can't be known by mere thought
Or feelings, so how can they be analyzed?

The minister still serves his lord
The child obeys his parent.
Not obeying is unfilial,
Not serving is a useless waste.

Practicing inwardly, functioning in secret,
Playing the fool, seemingly stupid,
If you can only persist in this way,
You will see the lord within the lord.

Translation by:
Toshu John Neatrour;
Kaz Tanahashi 

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