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Diamond Sangha
Sesshin Sutra Book

December 1991 version
Translations/revisions by Robert Aitken Roshi
of the Diamond Sangha Zen Buddhist Society,
Koko An, 2119 Kaloa Way, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA 96822


Song on Realizing the Tao

by Yung-chia Hsuan-ch'e (Yoka Genkaku)


Holding truth and rejecting delusion
These are but skillful lies.
Students who do zazen by such lies
Love thievery in their own children.

Some Christians admire an angel but hate a devil. Some Confucians pine for the ancient kingdom but complain of the present government. All of them attempt to take hold of the true by abandoning the false. They struggle endlessly, but never attain true peacefulness. Zen students who try to reach truth by rejecting delusions are making the same mistake.

They miss the Dharma-treasure;
They lose accumulated power;
And this disaster follows directly upon dualistic thinking.
So Zen is the complete realization of mind,
The complete cutting off of delusion,
The power of wise vision penetrating directly to the unborn.

Wobaku, a Chinese Zen master, once said, "Buddhas and sentient beings both grow out of One Mind, and there is no reality other than this Mind. . . . Only because we seek it outwardly in a world of form, the more we seek the farther away it moves from us. To make Buddha seek after himself, or to make the Mind take hold of itself is impossible to the end of eternity. We do not realize that as soon as our thoughts cease and all attempts at forming ideas are forgotten, the Buddha is revealed before us.

Students of vigorous will hold the sword of wisdom;
The prajna edge is a diamond flame.
It not only cuts off useless knowledge,
But also exterminates delusions.

They roar with Dharma-thunder;
They strike the Dharma-drum;
They spread clouds of love, and pour ambrosial rain.
Their giant footsteps nourish limitless beings;
Sravaka, Pratyeka, Bodhisattva--all are enlightened;
Five kinds of human nature all are emancipated.

"Heavenly devils" are those who call themselves Zen masters or those who wear the robes of various religious sects, and think that by so doing they have been equally invested with some divine right to direct the lives of others. Pride is one of the most subtle and insidious evils of all, appearing in many forms. Only the student who has accomplished Prajna has any right to lead others.

High in the Himalayas, only fei-ni grass grows.
Here cows produce pure and delicious milk,
And this food I continually enjoy.
One complete nature passes to all natures;
One universal Dharma encloses all Dharmas.

One moon is reflected in many waters;
All the water-moons are from the one moon.
The Dharma-body of all Buddhas has entered my own nature,
And my nature becomes one with the Tathagata.

One level completely contains all levels;
It is not matter, mind nor activity.
In an instant eighty-thousand teachings are fulfilled;
In a twinkling the evil of eons is destroyed.

All categories are no category;
What relation have have these to my insight?
Beyond praise, beyond blame,
Like space itself it has no bounds.

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." All things return to one, and one operates in all things. When you pass one koan, you have passed all koans. It is your own fault if you are entangled by the next one. Realization has no color, no form, no psychological movement, and no action of dualistic tendency.

Right here it is eternally full and serene,
If you search elsewhere, you cannot see it.
You cannot grasp it, you cannot reject it;
In the midst of not gaining,
In that condition you gain it.
It speaks in silence,

In speech you hear its silence.
The great way has opened and there are no obstacles.

When you begin to study Zen, you aim to attain realization. Your motive is good insofar as motive is concerned, but in your meditation you should aim at nothing. You may aim at realization to encourage yourself when you are not meditating, but beware of clinging entanglements. Encouragement is one thing, meditation is another. Do not mix them up. Carry your meditation as the eternal present, and saturate your everyday life in it.

Stanzas 41- 51

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Notes and comments are lifted from the endnotes of the Empty Sky compilation of these Zen Buddhist texts and The Syllabus section of Encouraging Words - zen buddhist teachings for western students by Robert Aitken Roshi

Yung-chia Hsuan-ch'e (Yoka Genkaku Daishi 665-713) was student of Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch of China.

Buddhism & Zen

Dharma Heroes

Nyogen Senzaki

Shodoka is memorized in its entirely by students in China, Korea and Japan, and they are often inspired during its recitation.
- from Buddhism and Zen

(ch. Hsin Hsin Ming), usually rendered Verses on the Faith Mind, is unpacked by Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi to mean "the verbal expression of the fact that the very nature of existence and of all the phenomenal world are no other than the faithmind."

Maezumi Roshi praises Dennis Merzel's commentaries on the Hsin Hsin Ming, The Eye Never Sleeps, calling it "open and free, not restricted or conditioned by his predecessors' interpretations" and a "vibrant expression."

For about The Eye Never Sleeps read the review.


The ascii version of these texts can be acquired from the Electronic Buddhist Archives section of the Coombspapers Social Sciences Research Data Bank