As my time is limited these days, one of the ways I maintain a connection to the dharma at work is to listen to a few chants over my headphones. My favorite of which is currently Faith in Mind, or Affirming Faith in Mind (it is sometimes attributed to Jianzhi Sengcan, but that is under debate and unlikely to be proven). To me, this verse/poem points to many of the most important Buddhist teachings like karma, conditioned existence, dukkha, the Four Noble Truths, awakening to pure Mind, and non-conceptual wisdom. And it does all of that without the overlays of ancient Chinese culture that some might find bewildering or off-putting. It is a powerful work, one that will speak to many over countless generations.
I’ve included the text below. You can also listen to it being chanted here.
The Great Way is not difficult for those who do not pick and choose.
When preferences are cast aside the Way stands clear and undisguised.
But even slight distinctions made set earth and heaven far apart.
If you would clearly see the truth, discard opinions pro and con.
To founder in dislike and like is nothing but the mind’s disease.
And not to see the Way’s deep truth disturbs the mind’s essential peace.
The Way is perfect like vast space, where there’s no lack and no excess.
Our choice to choose and to reject prevents our seeing this simple truth.
Both striving for the outer world as well as for the inner void condemn us to entangled lives.
Just calmly see that all is One, and by themselves false views will go.
Attempts to stop activity will fill you with activity.
Remaining in duality, you’ll never know of unity.
And not to know this unity lets conflict lead you far astray.
When you assert that things are real you miss their true reality.
But to assert that things are void also misses reality.
The more you talk and think on this the further from the truth you’ll be.
Cut off all useless thought and words And there’s nowhere you cannot go.
Returning to the root itself, you’ll find the meaning of all things.
If you pursue appearances you overlook the primal source.
Awakening is to go beyond both emptiness as well as form.
All changes in this empty world seem real because of ignorance.
Do not go search for the truth, just let those fond opinions go.
Abide not in duality, refrain from all pursuit of it.
If there’s a trace of right and wrong, True-mind is lost, confused, distaught.
From One-mind comes duality, but cling not even to this One.
When this One-mind rests undisturbed, then nothing in the world offends.
And when no thing can give offense, then all obstructions cease to be.
If all thought-objects disappear, the thinking subject drops away.
For things are things because of mind, as mind is mind because of things.
These two are merely relative, and both at source are Emptiness.
In Emptiness these are not two, yet in each are contained all forms.
Once coarse and fine are seen no more, then how can there be taking sides?
The Great Way is without limit, beyond the easy and the hard.
But those who hold to narrow views are fearful and irresolute; their frantic has just slows them down.
If you’re attached to anything, you surely will go far astray.
Just let go now of clinging mind, and all things are just as they are. In essense nothing goes or stays.
See into the true self of things, and you’re in step with the Great Way, thus walking freely, undisturbed.
But live in bondage to your thoughts, and you will be confused, unclear.
This heavy burden weighs you down– O why keep judging good and bad?
If you would walk the highest Way, do not reject the sense domain.
For as it is, whole and complete, This sense world is enlightenment.
The wise do not strive after goals, but fools themselves in bondage put.
The One Way knows no differences, the foolish cling to this and that.
To seek Great Mind with thinking mind is certainly a grave mistake.
From small mind come rest and unrest, but mind awakened transcends both.
Delusion spawns dualities– these dreams are nought but flowers of air– why work so hard at grasping them?
Both gain and loss, and right and wrong– once and for all get rid of them.
When you no longer are asleep, all dreams will vanish by themselves.
If mind does not discriminate, all things are as they are, as One.
To go to this mysterious Source frees us from all entanglements.
When all is seen with “equal mind,” to our Self-nature we return.
This single mind goes right beyond all reasons and comparisons.
Stop movement and there’s no movement, stop rest and no-rest comes instead.
When rest and no-rest cease to be, then even oneness disappears.
This ultimate finality’s beyond all laws, can’t be described.
With single mind one with the Way, all ego-centered strivings cease;
Doubts and confusion disappear, and so true faith pervades our life.
There is no thing that clings to us, and nothing that is left behind.
All’s self-revealing, void and clear, without exerting power of mind.
Thought cannot reach this state of truth, here feelings are of no avail.
In this true world of Emptiness both self and other are no more.
To enter this true empty world, immediately affirm “not-two”.
In this “not-two” all is the same, with nothing separate or outside.
The wise in all times and places awaken to this primal truth.
The Way’s beyond all space, all time, one instant is ten thousand years.
Not only here, not only there, truth’s right before you very eyes.
Distinctions such as large and small have relevance for you no more.
The largest is the smallest too– here limitations have no place.
What is is not, what is not is– if this is not yet clear to you, you’re still far from the inner truth.
One thing is all, all things are one– know this and all’s whole and complete.
When faith and Mind are not separate, and not separate are Mind and faith, this is beyond all words, all thought.
For here there is no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow.