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FORMLESS GATHA
by Huineng (638 - 713, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: Fo Guang Shan International Translation Center

With an even mind,
why bother upholding precepts?
With an upright practice,
why meditate?
To have gratitude, be filial towards your parents.
To be just, have sympathy for others,
whether high or low.
To yield to others, whether you are honorable
or lowly, live in harmony.
To be tolerant, do not speak of the wrongdoing of others.

If fire can be produced by drilling wood,
Certainly the red lotus will emerge from the mud.
What tastes bitter is an effective cure.
What is grating to the ear is honest advice.

Mend your errors and give rise to wisdom,
Defend your shortcomings and you lack a sage’s mind.
Daily, constantly practicing to benefit others,
Attaining Buddhahood does not come from giving money.

Bodhi is found within the mind.
Why bother looking for the extraordinary outside?
Listen to what I have just said and apply it.
The West is before your eyes.

── from Liuzu Tanjing (Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch)