Faith Mind Sutra

Hsin Hsin Ming
Verses on the faith mind by Sengstan, the third Zen Patriarch

Translated by Richard B. Clarke


The Great Way is not difficult
For those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
Everything becomes clear and undisguised.

Make the smallest distinction however,
And heaven and earth
Are set infinitely apart.

If you wish to see the truth
Then hold no opinion for or against.
The struggle of what one likes
And what one dislikes
Is the disease of the mind.

When the deep meaning of things
Is not understood
The mind’s essential peace is disturbed
to no avail.


The Way is perfect like vast space
Where nothing is lacking
And nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing
To accept or reject
That we do not see the true nature of things.

Live neither in entanglements
Of outer things,
Nor in inner feelings of emptiness.

Be serene without striving activity
In the oneness of things
And such erroneous views
will disappear by themselves.

When you try to stop activity
To achieve passivity
Your very effort fills you with activity.

As long as you remain in one extreme
or the other
You will never know Oneness.

Those who do not live in the single Way
Fail in both activity and passivity,
Assertion and denial.


To deny the reality of things
Is to miss their reality;
To assert the emptiness of things,
Is to miss their reality.

The more you talk and think about it,
The further astray you wander from the truth.

Stop talking and thinking,
And there is nothing
You will not be able to know.


To return to the root is to find the meaning.
but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment
there is a going beyond
appearance and emptiness.
The changes that appear to occur
in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance.

Do not search for the truth;
only cease to hold opinions.

Do not remain in the dualistic state.
avoid such pursuits carefully.

If there is a trace
of this and that, the right and wrong,
the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.

Although all dualities come from the One,
do not be attached even to this One.
When mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
nothing in the world can offend,
and when a thing can no longer offend,
it ceases to exist in the old way.

When no discriminating thoughts arise,
the old mind ceases to exist


When thought objects vanish,
the thinking-subject vanishes,
as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish
Things are objects because of the subject;
the mind is such because of things.

Understand the relativity of these two
and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.

In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable
and each contains in itself the whole world.

If you do not discriminate
between coarse and fine
you will not be tempted
to prejudice and opinion.


To live in the Great Way
Is neither easy nor difficult,
but those with limited views
are fearful and irresolute:
the faster they hurry, the slower they go,
and clinging cannot be limited;
even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment
is to go astray.

Just let things be in their own way
and there will be neither coming nor going.

Obey the nature of things (your own nature),
and you will] walk freely and undisturbed.
When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden,
for everything is murky and unclear,
and the burdensome practice of judging
brings annoyance and weariness.

What benefit can be derived
from distinctions and separations?

If You wish to move in the One Way
do not dislike even the world
of senses and ideas.

Indeed, to accept them fully
is identical with true Enlightenment.
The wise man strives to no goals
but the foolish man fetters himself.

There is one Dharma, truth, law. not many;
distinctions arise
from the clinging needs of the ignorant.

To seek Mind with the discriminating mind
is the greatest of all mistakes.


Rest and unrest derive from illusion;
with enlightenment there is no liking
and disliking.

All dualities come from ignorant inference.
They are like dreams or flowers in the air:
foolish try to grasp them.
Gain and loss, right and wrong:
such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.

If the eye never sleeps,
al] dreams will] naturally cease.
If the mind makes no discriminations,
the ten thousand things
are as they are, of single essence.

To understand the mystery of this One-essence
is to be released from all entanglements.

When all things are seen equally
the timeless Self essence is reached.
No comparisons or analogies are possible
in this causeless, relation-less state.


Consider movement stationary
‘and the stationary in motion,
and both the state of movement
and the state of rest disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist
Oneness itself cannot exist
To this ultimate finality
no law or description applies.
For the unified mind in accord with the Way
all self centered striving ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish
and life in true faith is possible.
With a single stroke we are freed from bondage;
nothing clings to us and we hold nothing,
All is empty, clear, self illuminating,
with no exertion of the mind’s power.
Here thought, feeling,
knowledge, and imagination
are of no value.


In this world of Suchness
there is neither self nor other than self.
To come directly into harmony with this reality
just simply say when doubts arise, “Not two”.
In this “not two” nothing is separate,
nothing is excluded.
No matter when or where,
enlightenment means entering this truth.
And this truth is beyond extension or
diminution in time or space;
in it a single thought is ten thousand years.


Emptiness here, Emptiness there,
but the infinite universe stands
always before our eyes.
Infinitely large and infinite small;
no difference, for definitions have vanished
and no boundaries are seen.
So too with Being and non Being.
Don’t waste time in doubts and arguments
that have nothing to with this.
One thing, all things:
move among and intermingle.
without distinction.
To live in this realization
is to be without anxiety about non perfection.
To live in this faith is the road to non duality,
because the non dual is one
with the trusting mind.
The Way is beyond language,
for in it there is
no yesterday
no tomorrow
no today