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Faith: Cultivating an Undivided Life

The opening lines of the seminal Zen poem, The Mind of Great Faith, written by Sengcan in 7th century China, states:
“The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the slightest distinction, however,
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth,
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.”

Every moment, the binary mind loves and hates, picks and chooses, judges and opines. All around us, we witness the impact of clinging to preferences and holding to opinions: war, systems of racism and oppression, the climate crisis, the spin of misinformation, and the degradation of truth.

What are we to do? Where can we find a sense of ground? What does it mean to have faith in the midst of so much suffering?

Sengcan’s poem points the way, inviting us to discover the depths within us—our essential goodness and vast potential waiting to be realized so we can respond to the cries of the world with clarity, kindness, and a steady, receptive heart.

Exploring this potent, ancient teaching, we will learn about the struggles Sengcan faced, what he discovered about how to heal the divisiveness in and around us, and how to realize the innate beauty, wholeness and peace that are always, already right here, right now.

Discussion

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kriskramer64
kriskramer64
3 days ago

Interesting poem. The absence of love seems to contradict the notion of metta. As someone who consciously tries to live a loving life, this is counterintuitive. At the same time, I can see how taking the “side of love” can create a separation.