Open Mind Zen Chants
Verse of Atonement
All negative karma, ever committed by me since of old,
On account of my beginningless greed, anger and ignorance,
Born of my actions, speech and thought;
Now I atone for it all. (3x)
The Four Vows of the Bodhisattva
Sentient Beings are Numberless, I Vow to Free Them;
Delusions are Inexhaustible, I Vow to Transform Them;
Practice Paths are Boundless, I Vow to Study Them;
The Enlightened Way is Incomparable, I Vow to Embody It. (3x)
Verse of the Kesa
Vast is the Robe of Liberation;
A Formless Field of Benefaction;
I wear the Tathagata’s Teaching;
Saving All Sentient Beings. (3x)
Gatha on Opening the Sutra
The Dharma, Incomparably Profound and Infinitely Subtle;
Is Rarely Encountered , even in Millions of Ages.
Now We See It, Hear It, Receive and Maintain It;
May We Completely Realize Our True Awakened Nature. (1x)
Realizing Unity (Identity of Relative and Absolute)
The mind of the great sage of India is intimately conveyed from West to East.
Among human beings are wise ones and fools, but in the Way there is no northern or southern ancestor.
The subtle source is clear and bright, the tributary streams flow through the darkness.
To be attached to things is illusion, to encounter the Absolute is not yet enlightenment.
Each and all the subjective and objective spheres are related and at the same time, independent.
Related, yet working differently, though each keeps its own place.
Form makes the character and appearance different; sounds distinguish comfort and discomfort.
The dark makes all words one, the brightness distinguishes good and bad phrases.
The four elements return to their 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 of the other; cause and effect must return to the Great Reality.
The words 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 look for that light.
Light and darkness are a pair like the foot before and the foot behind when walking.
Each thing has its own intrinsic value and is related to everything else in function and position.
Ordinary life fits the Absolute as a box and its lid.
The Absolute works together with the relative like two arrows meeting in mid-air.
Reading words you should grasp the Great Reality.
Do not judge by any 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.
I respectfully say to those who wish to be enlightened: Do not waste your time by night or day.
(This passage has been chanted in Zen temples for hundreds of years. It was written by Shitou Xiquin who lived from 700 to 790 A.D in China.)
Throughout space and time,
All Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas
Maha Prajna Paramita
The Heart of the Perfection of Great Wisdom Sutra (The Heart Sutra)
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva doing deep prajña paramita
clearly saw the emptiness of all the five conditions, and was freed of fear.
O Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness; emptiness no other than form.
Form is exactly emptiness; emptiness exactly form.
Sensation, perception, discrimination, and consciousness are also like this.
O Shariputra, all things are expressions of emptiness:
not born, not destroyed; not stained, not pure; neither waxing nor waning.
Thus, in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, perception, reaction or consciousness.
No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind. No color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena.
No realm of sight. No realm of consciousness. No ignorance and no end to ignorance.
No old age and death; no end to old age and death.
No suffering; no cause or end to suffering.
No path, no wisdom, and no gain.
No gain: Thus, bodhisattvas live prajña paramita with no hindrance in the mind. No hindrance, therefore no fear.
Far beyond deluded thoughts, this is nirvana.
All past, present, and future buddhas live prajña paramita and attain supreme perfect enlightenment.
Therefore, know that prajña paramita is the perfect mantra, the luminous mantra, the supreme mantra,
the incomparable mantra by which all suffering is cleared. This is no other than truth.
Therefore, set forth the prajña paramita mantra, set forth this mantra and say:
Gate, gate, paragate parasamgate, bodhi svaha!
Let me respectfully remind you,
Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken. Take heed.
Do not squander your life.
Verses on Faith Mind
The Great Way is not difficult
for those who do not pick and choose.
When pref’rences are cast aside
the Way stands clear and undisguised.
But even slight distinctions made
set earth and heaven far apart.
If you would clearly see the truth,
discard opinions pro and con.
To flounder in dislike and like
is nothing but the mind’s disease.
And not to see the Way’s deep truth
disturbs the mind’s essential peace.
The Way is perfect like vast space,
where there’s no lack and no excess.
Our choice to choose and to reject
prevents our see’ng this simple truth.
Both striving for the outer world
as well as for the inner void
condemn us to entangled lives.
Just calmly see that all is One
and by themselves false views will go.
Attempts to stop activity
will fill you with activity.
If there’s a trace of right and wrong,
True-mind is lost, confused, distraught.
From One-mind comes duality,
but cling not even to this One.
When this One-mind rests undisturbed
then nothing in the world offends.
And when no thing can give offense,
then all obstructions cease to be.
If all thought-objects disappear
the thinking subject drops away.
For things are things because of mind,
as mind is mind because of things.
These two are merely relative
and both at source are emptiness.
In Emptiness these are not two,
yet in each are contained all forms.
Once coarse and fine are seen no more,
then how can there be taking sides?
The Great Way is without limit,
beyond the easy and the hard.
But those who hold to narrow views
are fearful and irresolute;
their frantic haste just slows them down.
If you’re attached to anything,
you surely will go far astray.
Both gain and loss, and right and wrong—
once and for all get rid of them.
When you no longer are asleep,
all dreams will vanish by themselves.
If mind does not discriminate,
all things are as they are, as One.
To go to this mysterious Source
frees us from all entanglements.
When all is seen with “equal mind.”
to our Self-nature we return.
This single mind goes right beyond
all reasons and comparison.Seek movement and there’s no-movement,
seek rest and no rest comes instead.
When rest and no-rest cease to be,
then even oneness disappears.
This ultimate finality’s
beyond all laws, can’t be described.
With single mind one with the Way,
all ego-centered strivings cease;
Doubts and confusion disappear,
and so true faith pervades our life.
There is no thing that clings to us,
and nothing that is left behind.
Remaining in duality,
you’ll never know of unity.
And not to know this unity
lets conflict lead you far astray.
When you assert that things are real
you miss their true reality.
But to assert that things are void
Also misses reality.
The more you talk and think on this
the further from the truth you’ll be.
Cut off all useless thoughts and
and there’s nowhere you cannot go.
Returning to the root itself,
you’ll find the meaning of all things.
If you pursue appearances
you overlook the primal source.
Awak’ning is to go beyond
both emptiness as well as form.
All changes in this empty world
seem real because of ignorance.
Do not go searching for the truth,
just let those fond opinions go.
Abide not in duality,
refrain from all pursuit of it.
Just let go now of clinging mind,
and all things are just as they are.
In essence nothing goes or stays,
See into the true self of things,
and you’re in step with the Great Way,
thus walking freely, undisturbed.
But live in bondage to your thoughts,
and you will be confused, unclear.
This heavy burden weighs you down—
so why keep judging good and bad?
If you would walk the highest Way,
do not reject the sense domain.
For as it is, whole and complete,
this sense world is enlightenment.
The wise do not strive after goals,
but fools themselves in bondage put.
The One Way knows no diff’rences,
the foolish cling to this and that.
To see Great Mind with thinking mind
is certainly a grave mistake.
From small mind come rest and unrest,
but mind awakened transcends both.
Delusion spawns dualities—
these dreams are merely flow’rs of air
why work so hard at grasping them?
All’s self-revealing, void and clear,
without exerting power of mind.
Thought cannot reach this state of truth,
here feelings are of no avail.
In this true world of Emptiness
both self and other are no more.
To enter this true empty world,
immediately affirm “not-two”.
In this “not-two” all is the same,
with nothing separate or outside.
The wise in all times and places
awaken to this primal truth.
The Way’s beyond all space, all time,
one instant is ten thousand years.
Not only here, not only there,
truth’s right before your very eyes.
Distinctions such as large and small
have relevance for you no more.
The largest is the smallest too—
here limitations have no place.
What is is not, what is not is—
if this is not yet clear to you,
you’re still far from the inner truth.
One thing is all, all things are one—
know this and all’s whole and complete.
When faith and Mind are not separate,
and not separate are Mind and faith,
this is beyond all words, all thought.
For here there is no yesterday,
no tomorrow, no today.