Sunday, September 18, 2011

My new translation of "Inscription on Silent Illumination"

This is my most recent translation completed today. 9/18/11.

Inscription on Silent Illumination

Mo Zhao Ming

By Zen Master Hongzhi Zhengjue of Tiantong (1091-1157)

In silent silence, forgetting speech.
In bright brightness, appearing in front.
When reflected upon, you’re wide open.
Where embodied, numinous.

The solitary illumination of the numinous
Illuminates within and returns to the wondrous.
The moon in the dew, the starry river,
The snowy pine, the cloudy mountain peak.

In the dark yet universally bright.
In hiding yet all the more evident.
The crane dreams the cold of mist.
The water contains the depth of autumn. 

The vast kalpas are empty emptiness
Appearances are all together identical.
The wondrous is preserved at the place of silence
Achievement is forgotten within illumination

What is preserved to preserve the wondrous?
Wide awake breaks up confusion.
The path of silent illumination,
The root of freedom from minutiae.

The unobstructed view is free from minutiae,
The gold shuttle, the jade loom.
The straight and the biased revolve,
The bright and dim are causally dependent.

Depending on nothing is the location of capability.
When at the foundation, turning around mutually.
Drinking the medicine of good views,
Beating the drum smeared with poison. 

Turning around mutually when at the foundation
Killing or saving life is on us.
From inside the gate emerges the body;
The tip of the branch bears the fruit.

When only silence is the perfect speech,
When only illumination is the universal response,
Response does not fall into achievement.
Speech does not involve listening.

The 10,000 phenomena infinitely connected together
Shine freely and articulate the Dharma
All that proving clearly.
Each and every one questioning and answering.

Questioning and answering, proving clearly,
Precisely mutually responding.
If within illumination you lose silence,
Immediately you see aggressiveness.  

Proving clearly, questioning and answering,
Mutually responding precisely.
If within silence you lose illumination
The muddiness becomes remaining things (dharmas).

The principle of silent illumination complete,
The lotus opens, the dream awakens.
The hundred rivers go into the sea.
The thousand summits face the highest peak. 

Like the goose choosing the milk,
Like the bee picking the flowers.
The reaching and attaining of silent illumination
Conveys our family of the [Zen] lineage.

The silent illumination of the family of the [Zen] lineage,
Penetrates to the top, penetrates to the foundation.
The body of emptiness,
The arms of the mudra. 

The one important event from start to finish,
By the manner of transformation is 10,000 differences.
Huo Shi presented an unpolished gem
Xiangru pointed out the flaw. 

To suit the capacities [of people] there are standards.
The great function does not strive.
Within the palace walls, the Son of Heaven.
Outside of the barriers, the General.

The foundation and affair of our family:
Within the compass, within the carpenter’s square.
Transmit it going in every direction.
It is not important to earn praise.

~The Chinese text at CBETA begins at T48n2001_p0100a25(00).

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