Faith in Mind by 3rd Patriarch of Zen

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Kevin 5 years, 6 months ago.

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    The Great Way is not difficult;
    just avoid picking and choosing!

    Only when you neither love nor hate
    does it clearly reveal itself.

    To see its truth
    be neither for, nor against.

    Even the slightest distinctions made
    set heaven and earth far apart.

    Conflicts between longing and loathing
    are a disease of the mind.

    Gain and loss, right and wrong
    away with them once and for all!

    The Perfect Way, like vast space
    lacks nothing, has nothing in excess.

    When the mind does not discriminate
    all things are as they really are.

    Entering the deep mystery of this suchness
    releases us from all attachments.

    Viewing all things in their oneness
    we return to our original nature.

    This state wherein all relations have ceased
    is indescribable by analogy.

    The mind is full accord with the Way
    drops off its selfish preoccupations.

    Doubts clear up
    true faith prevails.

    All is empty, clear,
    revealed effortlessly, naturally.

    Neither thinking nor imagination
    can ever reach this state.

    This Ultimate reality
    retains neither self nor other.

    In this non dual world
    all is one, nothing left out.

    In this unmeasurable truth
    one instant is ten thousand years.

    Things do not separate into here, or there
    infinity is manifested everywhere.

    One thing is everything
    all things are One.

    If you know only this, then
    don’t worry about attaining perfect knowledge.

    The believing mind is not divided
    undivided is the believing mind

    Words fail to describe it
    for it is neither of the past, present, nor future.


    So you too know how to cut & paste.



    One of my favorite and inspiring poems from Buddhist literature. Although the original one is much much longer. Bahiya Sutra is awesome too.

    Bahiya Sutra

    In the seen, there is only the seen,
    in the heard, there is only the heard,
    in the sensed, there is only the sensed,
    in the cognized, there is only the cognized.
    Thus you should see that
    indeed there is no thing here;
    this, Bahiya, is how you should train yourself.
    Since, Bahiya, there is for you
    in the seen, only the seen,
    in the heard, only the heard,
    in the sensed, only the sensed,
    in the cognized, only the cognized,
    and you see that there is no thing here,
    you will therefore see that
    indeed there is no thing there.
    As you see that there is no thing there,
    you will see that
    you are therefore located neither in the world of this,
    nor in the world of that,
    nor in any place
    between the two.
    This alone is the end of suffering.


    In the suttra Bahiya gets enlightened after hearing this short teaching & dies moments later.
    Do you think the world of this and the world of that are two different worlds?
    Do you think being told that the self can’t be located is really much help for folks?
    Do you think being told “there is no thing here” is any more enlightening than quantum physics?
    Do you think being told “there is no thing here” is really enlightening or helpful for folks?

    There is already more Buddhist wisdom, from ancient texts, and more modern teachers, on the internet available for free than one could read, or listen to, in a lifetime.
    for example:

    so unless you have a personal or original take on it, I’m not sure what purpose reposting snipets serves.




    Can you tell me why everything must serve a purpose? This is under the category of Inspirational Poems, Writings, and Artwork. Seems fairly appropriate.

    Is not sharing and enjoying such a beautiful poem simply enough? Why so much thinking? Why so much critique and judging? lol.

    I’d say, drop the thinking mind. Just enjoy it! =)

    Just be. That is all.


    copy & paste away to your heart’s content.


    Ivan Ganza

    Peter W,

    Thank you for the wonderful poem 😉

    -Ivan/ (DT Teacher in Training)


    Blake Barton

    Hi David,

    I feel that the poem that Peter posted was appropriate for this forum. Hopefully, we can post things beyond the technical intricacies of TMI.

    However, I found your posts to be sarcastic, and not within the boundaries of Right Speech. Please remember that we are forming an online community for the purpose of supporting and helping each other along the path. Maybe you did not find it valuable, but perhaps others did.

    Blake Barton – Dharma Treasure Community Adminstrator


    Blake. I gave links to Buddhist sources that have endless original sources. If you want this site to become a bulletin board for reposting that material, which is already freely available, fine. As I indicated I’m not arguing or trying to change anything. When the reposter then goes on to admit they don’t understand the teaching in what they posted, it seems somewhat ironic, and defending it all perhaps even more ironic.

    When someone says “Is not sharing and enjoying such a beautiful poem simply enough?” I can only wonder how they know its beautiful if they don’t understand it.

    This has nothing to do with whether the I think buddha’s teaching is “valuable” (as you question)- But its not JUST a poem, it is understood generally to be a profound teaching, and its value lies not in telling others you like it, but in understanding, thenbeing changed by it, or being able to demonstrate it, etc.



    It seems ironic to me, that the way you’re reacting (judging/critiquing) and assuming I don’t understand the poem blatantly shows how much you missed the point of the teaching. I’m sure this is quite visible to others as well. You may not be seeing as clearly and may think your understanding is correct. But from your tone and choice of words, there’s still much to learn from.

    I feel you are too wrapped up in the contents of the mind. You may grasp some Buddhist concepts intellectually, but you sure don’t exhibit them in your demeanor. But that’s okay, every experience is an opportunity to learn.

    That’s what this forum is for. And my posting, has given rise to this opportunity to teach.


    Blake Barton

    Hi David,

    I read through through this thread again, and I don’t see any indication that Peter “admitted that he doesn’t understand the teaching”. You state that you “are not arguing or trying to change anything”, and perhaps that is not your intention, but your posts give a different impression.

    Sharing “profound teachings” fits within the purpose of this discussion forum, and I am not quite sure why you have issues with this.

    With Metta,



    Peter W,
    Stepping aside from the back and forth above, I have wondered how you see this relative to the stages in TMI or the TMI approach in general. “Faith in Mind” is a favourite of mine, and I have used it in teaching. It offers clear advice for practitioners, especially from the beginning “The Great Way is not difficult; just avoid picking and choosing!” through to “Conflicts between longing and loathing are a disease of the mind.” This small section contains tremendous meaning. I also recommend the translation by Chan Master Shen Yen.

    I have wondered why it resonated with you as a TMI practitioner. There’s no one answer, and I was interested if you were interested in sharing yours. If you just wished to post and leave it at that, no problem. Thank you for sharing.

    David S. (DT Teacher in Training)



    “Even the slightest distinctions made
    set heaven and earth far apart.”

    Beautiful, thank you for sharing.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by  Jamie.


    @David S

    I’ve never personally applied it to TMI. But now that you mention it, I can see it being quite useful for practitioners who get wrapped up on thoughts like “I had a good meditation session or a bad one.” Then proceed to get sucked into the stories of the mind, either with self praise when the meditation session is good or a self defeated attitude when struggling to meditate. This self judging is the antithesis of the point of meditation. The poem teaches practitioners to just be with everything, this very moment. The original nature of the mind, that is pure awareness. The poem encapsulates complete and total acceptance and surrender to what is. Two valuable concepts for those pursuing the path.

    To me, “Faith in Mind” captures the essence of non-duality. All of our problems begin with the discerning mind. The one that says this is good this is bad. Or things should be done this way or that way. As soon as the discerning mind arises, it is the beginning of desire and aversion. Which ultimately is what every practitioner is trying to uproot.

    “Faith in Mind” points to things are the way they are. That’s where inner peace arises from, being totally okay with whatever situation life throws at you.

    I’d imagine a highly equanimous mind mirrors what this poem tries to articulate.

    To be honest and transparent though, what I’ve struggled with is that in Thervada, the Buddha always emphasizes wholesome and unwholesome, right and wrong. A bit of a contradiction to “Faith in Mind”, which probably comes from the mixture of Chan Buddhism & Taoism.

    What’s your take and how have you applied it with TMI?


    Salina D

    @ PeterW

    Just to insert my 2 cents here… I think it’s useful to make the distinction between the discriminating mind and discernment. The former is what you seem to be talking about with regard to the judgments which springboard into proliferative thoughts and stories about good/bad, etc. Discernment is a function of wisdom. Wholesome and unwholesome in the Buddhist sense isn’t about right and wrong (I personally prefer the terms skillful and unskillful in order to avoid potential baggage around the wholesomeness terms). With any thought, action, communication one engages in, one can ask, “Does this lead in the direction of peace/nibbana? Or does this lead towards suffering?” That is discernment – the ability to tell the difference between these two, which then leads the questioner towards peace as opposed to suffering more and more over time.

    In TMI terms I believe that this discernment is a natural outgrowth of the development of metacognitive introspective awareness.

    -Salina D.
    Dharma Treasure Teacher-in-Training

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