October 24, 2014

The Oneness of Relative and Absolute

(The Ts'an T'ung Ch'i')
by Shih T'ou
Photographs by Yao Xiang


The Great Sage of India conveyed
True Mind from West to East.
Among human beings are wise ones and fools
But in Truth there are no Patriarchs,
north or south.
From the clear, bright subtle Source
Tributary streams flow through the darkness.
Attaching to things is delusion
And meeting the Absolute is not yet
enlightenment.







Within and without relate, yet are independent,
Working in different ways, but together.
Form differs in substance and appearance.
Sounds distinguish pleasure from pain.
In darkness, high and middle merge;
But in light all things are revealed.
The four elements return to the Source
Like a child to its mother.




Fire's hot, wind moves,
Water's wet, earth's hard.
Eyes see, ears hear,
Nose smells, tongue tastes salt and sour.
Each is independent
While in accord with its relations.
The root gives rise to many leaves
Yet root and branch return to One.




High and low are relative.
In light there is darkness
Confronted, it cannot be fathomed.
Within darkness there is light
One-sided, it cannot be found.
Light and darkness are paired
Like a foot before and a foot behind
when walking
Each thing has intrinsic value
Related to other things by function and place.




Absolute and ordinary life fit together
Like a box and its cover.
Absolute works with relative
Like two arrows meeting in mid-air.
Hear and know the Great Reality.




Do not judge by your own standards.
Overlooking the Way right before you
How can you see it where you're walking?
Enlightened, the Path is neither near nor far.
Deluded, you are mountains and rivers away
With respect I say to you who seek the goal
Do not waste a moment, night or day.