Coming Soon: Xinxin Ming: Song of the Truthful Mind (Third Zen Patriarch in China, Seng-ts’an)


Our series on the Bhagavad Gita is on hiatus. Coming closer to home our new series on Seng-ts’an classic Ch’an Poem will now take center-stage. Perhaps no more singular-Ch’an text best breaks-down the core of all Ch’an teaching. As described by Ch’an Master Sheng Yen:

The phrase “faith in mind” contains the two meanings of “believing in” and “realizing” the mind. “Mind” is especially emphasized in Chan. True faith in mind is the belief grounded in realization that we have a fundamental, unmoving, unchanging mind. This mind is precisely Buddha mind; it is also Tathagatagarbha (womb of Tathagata) in every sentient being. But the mind experienced by ordinary beings in the midst of vexations is deluded mind, not true mind. Those who seek to rid themselves of vexations imagine that there is a true mind to attain. However, from the perspective of Buddha mind, there is only one mind, neither true nor false. There is no need to discriminate, for everything, everywhere, is mind everlasting. When we fully realize Buddha mind, the believing mind and the mind which is believed in merge into one; since they are the same, the need for mere belief in this mind disappears…The paradox is that one must be enlightened to have true faith in this mind. [Yen, Chan Master Sheng (2013-04-02). Faith in Mind: A Commentary on Seng Ts’an’s Classic (Kindle Locations 118-124). Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.]

I’m sure this series will appeal to our seasoned readers as well as those who are perhaps coming to Ch’an/Zen for the first time…

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10 Responses to Coming Soon: Xinxin Ming: Song of the Truthful Mind (Third Zen Patriarch in China, Seng-ts’an)

  1. N. Yeti says:

    Song of the Truthful Mind is too hinduistic for my tastes. Why not the Lotus Sutra?

  2. n. yeti says:

    Joking aside, the Hsin hsin ming is a favorite…hopefully someone can comment on the Chinese characters in translation. I’ve always been curious about that. From what I have studied of Chinese poetry (not necessarily from the Tang dynasty) often there are layers of meaning. Even though there have been so many renderings in English, it is an elusive poem by nature and I have a feeling I have only scratched the surface of it. I’ve read that hsin hsin (信心) itself carries the sense of both faith, confidence as well as a more subtle meaning, truthfulness, as pointed out in the original post.

    I’m not as much of a football fan as Vajragoni. I get as much excitement out of tracing a red box and a blue box on a piece of paper and watching what they do!

  3. Methexis says:

    “Another reading of the text allows that Xinxin could be understood as the Truthful Mind, which is always ready and perfect, implying that there is no need to further “perfect” it. Because in the Chinese language today, Xinxin (信心) usually means “trust”, “confidence”, or “believing mind”, it is often forgotten that Xinxin can also be understood as the truthful mind (信實的心) ”

    “Xinxin or shinjin comes from the Buddhist concept of citta-prasāda (clear or clarified heart-mind)”

    • Vajragoni says:

      Well, that just about covers the whole series…very good job, Methexis. Haaaa-Haaaaaa!!!

      Really, truly fine work.

      • Vajragoni says:

        Actually I was commentating on your posts that arrived via email—my, why did you delete all that fine effort??? You really had great stuff there.

  4. n. yeti says:

    I thought it came from “mind only” not “clear mind”. Not a gainsay, just a doubt.

  5. n. yeti says:

    I have a feeling when I get to Nirvana, Methexis, Tozen, and Vajra will all be there sipping mint juleps and saying, what took you so long.

  6. Methexis says:

    The posts I deleted were mostly taking from here:

    So everything’s there anyway. Very good page.

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