12: Do not seek the true

不用求眞     Do not seek the true

唯須息見     Only cease to cling to views


It (Mind) is where the idea of truth is not clung to but treated with indifference because of its causing bewilderment.  – The Lankavatara Sutra


Question: “The sutra says: ‘Heretics take delight in the various views; the bodhisattva is unmoved by the various views. The Evil One takes joy in birth and death; the bodhisattva, while in the midst of birth and death, does not run away from it.’ ”  Answer: “Because false views are the same as true views, the bodhisattva is unmoved. The views that heretics delight in are called seeing existence and seeing nonexistence. Understanding that existence is nonexistent, and that nonexistence is not nonexistent, is called being unmoved. To be unmoved is to neither reject the true nor reject the false. At the moment of true understanding there is no false and true, so there is no need to reject the false in order to seek the true. Since existence is nonexistent, he is unmoved when he sees existence. Since nonexistence is not nonexistent, he is unmoved when he sees nonexistence. Because he relies on the Dharma to investigate the lack of difference between the false and the true, he is said to be unmoved. Further, because it is unnecessary to him to reject the false in order to enter the true, he is said to be unmoved by the various views. A sutra says: ‘By false appearances enter the true Dharma.’ It also says: ‘Enter the eight forms of liberation without rejecting the eight heterodox practices.’ ”  (The Long Sutra, Chapter V:28)

Hui-neng: “Verse of the true-false moving-quiet”

Nowhere is there anything true;
Don’t try to see the true in any way.
If you try to see the true,
Your seeing will be in no way true.
If you yourself would gain the true,
Separate from the false; there the mind is true.
If the mind itself does not separate from the false,
There is no true. What place is there for it to be?  (Yampolsky)

Hui-neng: “Seeing the Nature”

Thoroughly understanding in both speech and mind,
Like the sun shining in the cloudless sky,
Just spread this teaching: “Seeing the Nature.”
Manifest it in this world, destroy false teachings.

The Dharma is neither sudden nor gradual;
Only ignorance and awakening are quick or slow.
Deluded ones cannot grasp
This “Seeing the Nature” teaching.
Although explained in myriad ways,
If it accords with truth, they are ultimately one.

In the dark house of the passions
Keep the sun of wisdom ever shining brightly.
When the false comes, the passions come;
When the true comes, the passions depart.
False and true both put to rest
Is purity supreme, purity without remainder.

Bodhi is our original, inherent nature;
Stir up the mind and all goes wrong.
The pure mind is right within the false;
Abiding in the true, the three hindrances vanish.

If people of the world cultivate the Way
Nothing can hinder them.

Always recognize your own faults
And you will be in accord with the Way.
Each form has its own path;
They do not hinder or trouble one another.

If you abandon the Way to seek a by-path,
To the end of your days you’ll never see the Way.
A frantic passage through life
Will end in bitter regret.

If you wish to discover the true Way,
Right practice is the Way.
If you do not have a mind for the Way,
You are stumbling in the dark, blind to the Way.

Someone who truly walks the Way
Is blind to the faults of the world.
If I point out others’ faults,
This fault-finding itself is a fault.
Others’ faults I do not fault;
As for my own faults, I blame myself.
Just get rid of the fault-finding attitude;
Once cast aside, the passions vanish.

When attachment and aversion no longer block the mind,
Stretch out both legs and lie down.

If you hope to teach and transform others,
You yourself must have the skillful means.
Do not raise doubts in others
And their essential nature will reveal itself on its own.

The Buddha Dharma is right here in the world;
There is no awakening apart from this world.
To search for bodhi somewhere beyond this world
Is like looking for a rabbit with horns.

True-seeing is world-transcending,
False-seeing is the worldly.
False and true both set aside,
The bodhi-nature naturally appears.

This verse is the Direct Teaching (dun jiao)
It is also called the “Great Vehicle of the Dharma.”
Deluded you listen for ages;
Enlightened, you grasp it in an instant.


Broughton, Jeffrey L. (1999). The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen. University of California Press.

Jorgensen, John A. (1979). The Earliest Text of Ch’an Buddhism: The Long Scroll. The Australian National University.

Verhoeven, Martin J. (2014). The Sixth Patriarch’s Diamond Jewel Platform Sutra (3rd Edition). Burlingame, California: Buddhist Text Translation Society.

Yampolsky, Philip B. (1967) The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch. New York: Columbia University Press. (http://www.fodian.net/world/Platform_Sutra_Yampolsky.pdf)

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