Introduction and Translation
by YK Kwan and YN Yiu
all rights reserved Copyright © 2010
Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born about 560BC. (He is
Buddha, meaning the awaken one or the enlightened one.) His
disciples later recorded his teachings which become
Buddhism. It is formally a religion but many people also treat
it as philosophy. Zen (Chan禪 in Chinese) is a sect of
Buddhism introduced to China around 520. It claims to be
different from the main stream Buddhism as follows :
A special transmission outside the scriptures
Not using words or letters
Direct pointing to the human mind
Seeing one’s own nature to attain Buddhahood
A classical Zen dialogue gives an illustration of Zen
Monk asks : "How can one be a Buddha?"
Master replies : " A thief is a man."
偈語暗示, 佛也是人做, 人人可以成佛.
The insinuated meaning is that a man can be a Buddha or for
that matter, a thief, depending on himself.
Zen emphases on meditation to reach enlightenment and is
more flexible with doctrines and interpretation of Buddha’s
teachings. It later spread to Japan and is known as Zen in the
West where it is better known than other sects of Buddhism.
The following quotations have a touch of Zen. They are
translated into English to share with non-Chinese viewers.
If you do not give yourself vexation, other people can never
impose it on you because vexation only exists when you
cannot let go of your ego.
You may possess love but don't attach yourself to it because
separation is a certainty.
Whenever you let go (of your ego), you leave vexation behind.
Attachment to love is the cause of vexation. Let go of that
attachment then you will have freedom.
To care for others and wish them blessings in reticence is a
form of intangible charity.
The truth of life is disguised in placid ordinaries.
Coming is uncertain; leaving is certain. Therefore you should
accept change without changing yourself and keep yourself
intact in accepting changes.
Thinking for others in their perspective is compassion.
If you hold on fast to something in your hand, you can only
possess that thing. If you can let go, you would be able to
exercise other choices. If the human mind is fixed on its
perception and un-able to let go, then its wisdom has
The world has never been your possession and you have
nothing to forsake. What you need to forsake is all the
attachments. All the myriad things can be put to my use but I
claim no possession.