Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Jianzhi Sengcan, Third Patriarch of Zen, Third Patriarch of Ch'an

Chinese Poet, Zen Master, Third Chinese Patriarch of Chán after Bodhidharma and thirtieth Patriarch after Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha

"The Perfect Way knows no difficulties, except that it refuses to make preferences. Only when freed from hate and love does it reveal itself fully and without disguise. A tenth of an inch’s difference, and heaven and earth are set apart. If you wish to see it before your own eyes have no fixed thoughts either for or against it. To set up what you like against what you dislike - this is the disease of the mind. When the deep meaning of the Way is not understood. Peace of mind is disturbed to no purpose... Pursue not the outer entanglements, dwell not in the inner void; be serene in the oneness of things, and dualism vanishes of itself... Transformations going on in the empty world that confronts us appear to be real because of Ignorance. Do not strive to seek after the True, only cease to cherish opinions... One in all, All in One - if only this is realized, no more worry about not being perfect. When the mind and each believing mind and Mind, this is where words fail, for it is not of the past, present or future."

"Song of the Truthful Mind - The Way of the supreme is not difficult, If only people will give up preferences. Like not, dislike not. Be illuminated. If you are off by a millimeter, You will be off by as much as earth is separate from heaven. If you want to see Truth, Call no life experience favorable or unfavorable. To be caught between favorable and unfavorable Is the sickness of the mind. If you miss this key point, Any practice of meditation would only be a waste of time. The All-Roundedness is like the vast emptiness. There is nothing lacking, and nothing in excess. Only the discriminating mind Renders the All-Roundedness not whole…. Do not pursue the transient, Do not dwell in emptiness. Keep to equanimity, Forget yourself. If you want to stop an action and so restore stillness You will only end up putting in more action. People are always stuck at the two extremes— If only they know the One (Mind)! If you miss the One (Mind), You would miss the two: When you want to chase away existence, You betray emptiness just as you espouse emptiness. The more you talk and worry, The more you sever your link with reality. When you give up talk and worry You will encounter no obstructions wherever you go…. Go back to your roots and you will see the key point. Go where the images go, and you will lose the purpose of your training. The moment you follow the images All your previous practice on emptiness will be overtaken. This degeneration of your previous practice on emptiness Arises because of false perspectives. There is really no need to go after the Truth But there is indeed a need to extinguish biased views. Do not dwell in the two biased views. Make sure you do not pursue. The moment you think about right and wrong The moment you unwittingly lose your true mind. The two biased views arise from the false mind. So do not be stuck with your false mind. When mental images no longer arise Everything will be just fine…. There isn’t anything wrong; there isn’t any object. Nothing arises because the false mind does not even exist. The actor vanishes with the context. The context disappears and the actor is gone. The context arises because of the actor. The actor arises because of the context. Wish people knew that both the actor and the context Are empty in essence. The false mind and the two views are all empty. This encompasses all phenomena. Do not distinguish the fine from the coarse. This way you can avoid bias. The great Way is broad. It is neither easy nor difficult. When the eye with a tiny view doubts There will arise rapid turns and slow tracks. Once you lose prudence You will head straight into the wrong way. If you relax and take it easy Your body will neither go forward nor stay behind. Your nature becomes one with the Way. With worries gone, you will be your true self. If you get bogged down by thoughts You just sink into a dreamy world…. If you get weary with anxiety Neither your close ones nor your more distant acquaintances can help. If you want a vehicle to take you to the reality You must not reject the sensory world. Only when you do not reject the sensory world Can you return to right consciousness. The wise ones never pursue anything; The foolish ones always get tied up in knots. There is really no other teaching. Only the foolish ones chase after they don’t know what. Whether you drive your mind or your mind drives you You make a grave error. In bewilderment you derive a sense of false stillness or confusion. Better, refrain from favor or disfavor. Both the two biased extremes Arise from the calculating mind. Dreamy worlds and false flowers Need never be grasped and disposed of. Any sense of gain or loss, right or wrong, however, Do give up momentarily. If the eyes aren’t asleep All the dreams are gone. If the mind does not make any distinctions All the phenomenal world will be one with reality. When you see reality as a mystical whole, Immediately there will be no more conditional existence. As you look at the entire phenomenal world with the same mind You return to nature as it is. When subject and object exist no more The entire world will not be the same. There will be no action because actions have stopped; There will be no inaction because inactions have been activated. With both action and inaction gone, Where is the false mind? When the ultimate reality is realized, No more rules can you find…. Thereupon the mind assumes equanimity. There will be nothing more to do. All doubts are swept away. Only then the truthful, straight mind obtains. Nothing is left behind. Nothing is left to recall. The empty enlightenment illuminates itself. There is no need for the slightest mental effort. It is a realm beyond thinking, A realm beyond the apprehension of reasoning and emotions. A realm of reality as it is, Concepts about the self and the others vanish…. If you want a quick dialogue with reality Just avoid the two extremes. When there is no hang-up with the two extremes You will accommodate everything. All the wise ones from the ten directions Follow this same teaching, A teaching that is neither hurried nor slow: Yet one flash of thought is like ten thousand years. The reality is everywhere. It is in front of you, and in all the ten directions. The extremely small is no different from the big As you forget totally the context. The extremely big is no different from the small As you see no more the edge and the outer covering. Existence is the same as emptiness. Emptiness is the same as existence. If it were not like this You know it is not worth following. In one you can see all. In all you can see one. If you can do this You will have no worry that you will not see the ultimate. The truthful mind is beyond the two views. Beyond the two views is the truthful mind…. Words and language fail, For reality is neither the past and nor the future. And it is not even the present."

"The Perfect Way is only difficult For those who pick and choose. Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear."

"If you ignore its profundity, you can never practice stillness. Like the Great Void, it is Perfect and lacks nothing, nor has any excess. If you discriminate, you will miss its suchness. Cling not to external causes, nor stay in the Void. Differentiation ceases if you can be impartial. Stillness comes when all disturbances are stopped, clinging to stillness is also a mistake. If you cling to opposites, how will you know the One?"

"If an eye never falls asleep, All dreams will by themselves cease If the mind retains its absoluteness, The ten thousand things are of one suchness."

"The Way is beyond language, for in it there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today. "