In all the old books and flapping gums
You’ll find different tales of emptiness

That is emptiness,
The absence of known.

What can be viewed in multiple ways
Is truly empty of being known as it truly is.
Knowing this is knowing it as it truly is.

The function of mind
Is to make the unknown known,
But this mind is itself known and unknown.

What is known is but appearance.
What is the moon without light and dark,
Without waxing and waning,
Without rising and setting,
Without large or small,
Or crescent or round?

To mistake this second moon for the moon
Is to be fooled by appearances.
To think we know is to be ignorant.
To think we know is to suffer,
For all that appears must disappear in time.

A student of Chan doesn’t settle for this second moon
But turns to that great unknown, to that One Moon
That does not appear, but is the host of all appearances.

Of it it’s said that it’s silent and bright,
But this silence is not in relation to sound
Nor this brightness in relation to light.
It’s but a poetic image of an unknown gaze.

To sit before it is to face all fears.
For all that we do we do to fill it,
To break the silence and flee from space.

We prefer the second moon, because it’s familiar,
Yet it is the source of all our suffering.

To give up misunderstanding
Is to give up understanding.
In giving up the known,
We truly know. To grasp
At the known is to know nothing.

In gazing at the moon,
One need only smile and breathe,
And earnestly ask, “Who’s looking?”




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