5: Perfect it is, like vast emptiness

圓同太虚     Perfect it is, like vast emptiness

無欠無餘     With nothing wanting, nothing superfluous

良由取捨     When you grasp this and reject that

所以不如     You cannot see its suchness


That singleness is known as emptiness, wherein the universe does not exist in the beginning, end or middle, but by which the universe is pervaded at all times. – Adi Shankara

Huang-po (d. 850):

Mind is no other than Buddha. There is no Buddha outside of Mind, nor is there Mind outside of Buddha. This Mind is pure, and like space it has no distinct forms. As soon as you raise a thought and begin to form an idea of it, you ruin the Reality, because you then attach yourself to form. Since the beginningless past there is no Buddha who has ever had an attachment to form.

It is told again by the Tathagata that this Reality is perfectly empty and unbroken. By Reality is meant Bodhi. That is, this pure Mind, source of all things, is the very same in all sentient beings, in all the Buddha-lands, and also in all other worlds together with their mountains, oceans, etc., forms and formless things. They are all the same, and no marks distinguish this object from that. This pure Mind, source of all things, is always perfect and illuminating and all-pervading. People are ignorant of this and take what they see or hear or think of or know for Mind itself; their insight is then veiled and unable to penetrate into the essence itself, which is clear and illuminating. When you realize no-mind without any interference, the essence itself is revealed to you. It is like the sun coming out: its illumination penetrates the ten quarters and nothing obstructs its passage. (Suzuki, 1935, p. 81)


34. Trust in its Perfection

1. How all-pervading is the great Tao! It can be on the left and it can be on the right.

2. The ten thousand things depend upon it for their life, and it refuses them not. When its merit is accomplished it assumes not the name. Lovingly it nourishes the ten thousand things and plays not the lord. Ever desireless it can be classed with the small. The ten thousand things return home to it. It plays not the lord. It can be classed with the great.

3. Therefore

The holy man unto death does not make himself great and can thus accomplish its greatness. (Suzuki & Carus, 1913)



The great Tao flows everywhere
It fills everything to the left and to the right
All things owe their existence to it, and it cannot deny any one of them

Tao is eternal
It does not favor one over the other
It brings all things to completion without their even knowing it

Tao nourishes and protects all creatures, yet does not claim lordship over them
So we class it with the most humble
Tao is the home to which all things return, yet it wants nothing in return
So we call it The Greatest

The sage is the same way.
He does not claim greatness over anything
He is not even aware of his own greatness
Tell me, what could be greater than this? (Star, 2001, p. 47)


Star, Jonathan (2001). Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.

D. T. Suzuki (1935). Manual of Zen Buddhism.

D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus (1913). The Canon of Reason and Virtue (Tao Te Ching).

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