Sandokai

 

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Sandokai

The Harmony of Difference and Equality)
Sekito Kisen (700-790 Common Era)

 

From west to east, unseen, flowed out the mind

Of India’s greatest sage, and to the source

Kept true as an unsullied stream is clear.

Although by wit and dullness the true way

Is varied, yet it has no patriarch

Of south or north. Here born, we clutch at things

And then compound delusion later on

By following ideals. Each sense gate and

Its object all together enter thus

In mutual relations and yet stand

Apart in a uniqueness of their own,

Depending and yet non-depending too.

In form and feel component things are seen

To differ deeply, and the voices in

Inherent isolation, soft and harsh.

Such words as “high” and “middle” darkness match;

Light separates murky from the pure.

The properties of the four elements

Together draw just as a child returns

Unto its mother. Lo! The heat of fire,

The moving wind, the water wet, the earth

All solid; eyes to see, sounds heard, and smells;

Upon the tongue the sour, salty taste.

And yet in each related thing, as leaves

Grow from the roots, and “high” and “low”

Are used respectively. Within all light

Is darkness, but explained it cannot be

By darkness that one-sided is alone.

In darkness there is light, but here again

By light one-sided it is not explained.

Light goes with darkness as the sequence does

Of steps in walking.

All things herein have Inherent, great potentiality;

Both function, rest, reside within. Lo! with

The ideal comes the actual, like a box

All with its lid. Lo! with the ideal comes

The actual, like two arrows in mid-air

That meet.

Completely understand herein

The basic truth with these words. Lo! Hear!

Set up not your own standards. If, from your

Experience of the senses, basic truth

You do not know, how can you ever find

The path that certain is not matter how

Far distant you may walk. As you walk on,

Distinctions between near and far are lost,

And should you lost become, there will arise

Obstructing mountains and great rivers.

This I offer to the seeker of great Truth:

Do not waste time.