(Cantongqi or Sandokai)



The Mind of the great sage of India
is intimately conveyed from West to East.
Though humans may be sharp or dull,
the Way has no northern or southern ancestors.
The subtle source is clear and bright.
The branching streams flow through the dark.
To attach to things is delusion.
To encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment.
Each sense gate is related to its field
and yet independent,
related and interacting,
though each keeps its own place.
Forms differ in their character;
forms differ in appearances.
Sounds may be pleasant or harsh.
The dark makes all words one;
light distinguishes good and bad phrases.
The four elements return to their true nature
as a child to its mother.
Fire is hot, wind moves, water is wet, earth hard.
Eyes see, ears hear, nose smells,
tongue tastes the salt and sour.
Each is independent,
like leaves that come from one root.

Root and branches return to the great reality.
‘High’ and ‘low’ are used relatively.
Within light there is darkness,
but do not try to understand that darkness.
Within darkness there is light,
but do not try to find that light.
Light and darkness are a pair,
like the foot before and the foot behind in walking.
Each thing has its own intrinsic worth,
and relates to everything else in function and position.
Everyday life fits the absolute as a box and its lid.
The absolute and relative work together
like two arrows meeting in mid-air.
Hear these words and grasp the great reality.
Do not judge by your own standards.
If you do not see the way,
you do not see it even as you walk on it.
When you walk the way, it is not near, it is not far.
If you are deluded,
you are mountains and rivers away from it.
To those who wish to be enlightened,
I respectfully say,
‘Do not waste your time by night or by day.’