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THE FOUR COMPORTMENTS AT HOME

by Cishou Huaishen (1077 - 1132, Song Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

When conducting oneself at home, do not quarrel over general orders. If one knows that after each step no rank is achieved, then there is no need for lotuses to blossom beneath one’s feet.

When living at home, open the doors upon rising in the morning, and shut the windows upon retiring for the night. Leave not the tasks of collecting water and carrying firewood to others, for one should know that a buddha evolves from an ordinary human being.

When sitting at home, what is a scarce room? A spark of attainment is rather clear; where is the need to search for Bodhidharma out in the green mountains?

When lying at home, it is up to oneself whether to stretch or retract one’s legs. Should one be able to sleep all through the night, one will begin to have faith that the practice of Chan cannot compare to laziness.

── from Cishou Huaishen Chanshi Guanglu (Extensive Record of Chan Master Cishou Huaishen)

A PRAYER FOR A NEWBORN (EXCERPT)

Speak not of others’ good and bad,
The more said the more trouble one shall attract;
If one guards the tongue and conceals one’s speech,
Such is the best way to ensure one’s safety.

Be there ten thousand affairs,
None compares to the act of compromise;
Becoming as free as the lone cloud and wild crane,
Like wind that comes and goes over pine trees across ten miles,
I bow, smiling to the moon over the mountain peaks.

Be there ten thousand affairs,
None compares to the peace brought by compromise;
Attainment or cultivation had never been,
Hanging high outside the clear window is the moon,
In autumn, the well-tended chrysanthemums are in full bloom.

Be there ten thousand affairs,
None compares to a good rest after compromise;
Though slow-witted, I am nevertheless at peace,
Just as a lacquer tree has use, it therefore gets cut into,
Just as oil brings brightness, it therefore must burn all night.

── from Changuan Cejin Wai Shibu (Anthology of the Chan Whip)