Face Everything, Let Go, and Attain Stability

This piece was written by Chan Master Hongzhi Zenji (1091-1157). Translated by Taigen Dan Leighton.

Vast and far-reaching without boundary, secluded and pure, manifesting light this spirit is without obstruction. Its brightness does not shine out but can be called empty and inherently radiant. Its brightness, inherently purifying transcends causal conditions beyond subject and object. Subtle but preserved, illuminated and vast, also it cannot be spoken of as being or nonbeing, or discussed with images or calculations. Right in here the central pivot turns, the gateway opens. You accord and respond without laboring and accomplish without hindrance. Everywhere turn around freely, not following conditions, not falling into classifications. Facing everything, let go and attain stability. Stay with that just as that. Stay with this just as this. That and this are mixed together with no discriminations as their places. So it is said that the earth lifts up the mountains without knowing the mountain’s stark steepness. A rock contains jade without knowing the jade’s flawlessness. This is how to truly to leave home, how home-leaving must be enacted.(1)


(1) Hongzhi is addressing monastic students. In the Buddhist teachings, monks and nuns were often referred to as ‘home-leavers,’ meaning that they left their home life to pursue their monastic aspirations. 

Ven. Master Thich Nhat Hanh uses the term ‘home’ to refer to the experience of what Master Hongzhi Zenji is writing about in this piece. Open, vast, non-duality, free.


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