as flowing waters disappear into the mist

by Shih Shu

English version by James H. Sanford
Original Language Chinese

as flowing waters disappear into the mist
we lose all track of their passage.
every heart is its own Buddha;
to become a saint, do nothing.

enlightenment: the world is a mote of dust,
you can look right through heaven's round mirror
slip past all form, all shape
and sit side by side with nothing, save Tao.

-- from A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry, Edited by J. P. Seaton / Edited by Dennis Maloney

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Just reading these words tensions cease, the mind settles, and the glow of deep truth naturally shines forth.

I especially like these lines:

every heart is its own Buddha;
to become a saint, do nothing.

What we look for when we seek the Buddha, or enlightenment, or the Truth, is already seated within our own hearts. The way to enlightenment is not to do more -- make new journeys, comprehend new teachings, perfect new practices, think more profound thoughts. Those can be important aids, yes, but the real goal is always to discover what is already in the heart. When the seat of the Buddha has not been discovered, it is because we are still distracting ourselves with too much doing.

This is not what we're taught as we try to find a place in the world. We are always pressed to Do. Do more. Do brilliantly. Do efficiently. Do.

But try it sometime: Do less. Do nothing. Try to understand what doing nothing means. It is not about being inactive or unproductive. Truly doing nothing is internal, when not only thoughts are quiet, but the selfish will no longer exerts itself, when the subtle energies from which the mind arises have settled. You won't believe the immense sense of relief you'll then feel! Like a cramped muscle relaxing for the first time in years.

Don't do more. Don't do at all. Do nothing. Hey, the weekend's coming up....

Much love to everyone!

Recommended Books: Shih Shu

A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry The Clouds Should Know Me By Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China

as flowing waters