The Lancet of Seated Meditation (Zazenshin)

I went up to Sonoma Mountain Zen Center today, and the lecturer reminded the audience of advice from “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” about placing the mind in the left hand of the mudra.

Chris the lecturer also spoke about Zhengjue’s “The Lancet of Seated Meditation”, which Chris said could be translated as “The Acupuncture Needle of Seated Meditation”. Chris talked about the last lines:

The water is clear right through to the bottom;
A fish goes lazily along.
The sky is vast without horizon;
A bird flies far far away.

Chris mentioned that the acupuncture needle was a reference to mind, maybe because the title is “zazenshin”. I don’t know if his translation information is correct, but I like to think that makes the poem title “The acupuncture mind of seated meditation”. This would be what I’m talking about, the cranial-sacral respiration and the pulmonary respiration use the place of occurrence of consciousness to effect stretch and open feeling, in a kind of healing acupuncture by mind.

Here’s the whole poem as translated by Carl Bielefeldt, from the Stanford project (zazenshin):

LANCET OF SEATED MEDITATION
by Zhengjue
by imperial designation the Chan Master Spacious Wisdom

Essential function of buddha after buddha,
Functioning essence of ancestor after ancestor —
It knows without touching things;
It illumines without facing objects.
Knowing without touching things,
Its knowing is inherently subtle;
Illumining without facing objects,
Its illumining is inherently mysterious.
Its knowing inherently subtle,
It is ever without discriminatory thought;
Its illumining inherently mysterious,
It is ever without a hair’s breadth of sign.
Ever without discriminatory thought,
Its knowing is rare without peer;
Ever without a hair’s breadth of sign,
Its illumining comprehends without grasping.
The water is clear right through to the bottom;
A fish goes lazily along.
The sky is vast without horizon;
A bird flies far far away.

Nice poem, and the curious part of it is that Zhengjue is talking about two things through the whole poem, yet the title is about the mind/healing needle of zazen.

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