When the mind is at peace

by P'ang Yun (Layman P'ang)

English version by Stephen Mitchell
Original Language Chinese

When the mind is at peace,
the world too is at peace.
Nothing real, nothing absent.
Not holding on to reality,
not getting stuck in the void,
you are neither holy nor wise, just
an ordinary fellow who has completed his work.

-- from The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, by Stephen Mitchell

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Such a beautiful, direct poem by Layman Pang.

When the mind is at peace
The world too is at peace.


What more is there to add other than to experience it for oneself?

Nothing real, nothing absent.
Not holding on to reality,
not getting stuck in the void...


Enlightened awareness is not a game of carefully constructed definitions. It is not a feat of the intellect, which can only separate and categorize perceived reality. Even at its most subtle and incisive, when the intellect tries to separate the real from the non-real, it is setting up a filter upon the awareness.

When the mind is truly at peace, not only have thoughts come to a rest, but more importantly those unconscious mental filters no longer pre-sift the perception of reality.

He seems to be describing a trail for us to follow, a path found precisely where reality meets void, and we must gracefully walk between the two.

With no clinging to either "reality" or "void," the whole and unfiltered vision comes upon us.

Engulfed by this truth, we are not "wise" or "holy" -- those are further categories that others may or may not apply to you. No, we just are. We are not this or that, we are.

...an ordinary fellow who has completed his work.

We no longer feel the need to do something to validate our existence; we undeniably are -- and our work is therefore completed.



Recommended Books: P'ang Yun (Layman P'ang)

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry The Sayings of Layman P'ang: A Zen Classic





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