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Sengcan and the Hsin Shin Ming (continued)

Sengcan and the fledgling tradition of Chan were not interested in establishing a "Truth"-with-a-capital-T but rather in finding a template for living with awareness and clarity. In that sense, they were expressing the original message of the Buddha. The goal of the mature Chan tradition is not to answer questions but to dissolve the lust for or addiction to seeking answers and to diminish suffering thereby. . . .

Sengcan's verse represents a subtle merging of Taoism and Buddhism. We can watch as the voices of ancient China and ancient India are blended together into a perfect harmony until the parts are inseparable. It was a noble attempt to reconcile Buddhist metaphysics with Chinese philosophical concepts.

When Sengcan's poem and other Chan texts are using the language of traditional Buddhism, they are placing themselves within the doctrinal context of Mahayana Buddhism; when they are using the language of paradox, it is to place themselves within the free-wheeling tradition of Zhuangzi's Taoism.

See Mu Soeng's Trust in Mind for an in-depth presentation of the Buddhism, Chan and Tao in the Hsin Shin Ming. Mu Soeng and Ashoka will offer a course on this verse in the near future.