In the world of things as they are,
there is no self, no non-self.
If you want to describe its essence,
the best you can say is “Not-two.”
In this “Not-two” nothing is separate,
and nothing in the world is excluded.
The enlightened of all times and places
have entered into this truth.
In it there is no gain or loss;
one instant is ten thousand years.
There is no here, no there;
infinity is right before your eyes.
The tiny is as large as the vast
when objective boundaries have vanished;
the vast is as small as the tiny
when you don't have external limits.
Being is an aspect of non-being;
non-being is no different from being.
Until you understand this truth,
you won't see anything clearly.
One is all; all are one.
When you realize this,
what reason for holiness or wisdom?
The mind of absolute trust
is beyond all thought, all striving,
is perfectly at peace, for in it
there is no yesterday, no today,
Seng-ts'an lived in the late sixth century, was the third patriarch of Zen in China. There are many legends about him. According to one, Seng-ts'an was suffering from leprosy when he met the second patriarch Hui-k'o, who encountered him with the words, “You're suffering from leprosy; what could you want from me?” Seng-ts'an is supposed to have replied, “Even if my body is sick, the heart-mind of a sick person is no different from your heart-mind.” This convinced Hui-k'o of the spiritual capacity of Seng-ts'an; he accepted him as a student and later confirmed him as his dharma successor.