True nature is pure and deep like clear, still water.
If beaten with hatred or love, waves of anxiety arise.
Arising without cease, self-nature becomes confused.
Anxiety and ignorance ever increase unconsciously.
Self grasping another is like mud entering water.
Self moved by another is like throwing fat on the fire.
While chaos is taken to be real, self is born.
If self is not born, anxiety, burning for eons, turns to ice.
Thus perfected ones first empty the polluted self.
When the polluted self is emptied, how can the outer realm be blocked.
Resilience is the function of the self forgotten.
As soon as quirk appears, you recognize them immediately.
The point of recognition is enlightenment.
The instant one thought returns to brightness.
All traces are swept away. That moment is refreshing.
Refreshing and relaxing;
Incomparable and independent;
Tranquil and harmonious;
Nothing can match it.
“On Clear Mind” describes the method of practice from the state of self to the state of non-self.
Han Shan wrote this poem for a beginning student asking for guidance. Han Shan compared the mind to the muddy water – in order to calm our mind we have to keep it perfectly still so that the mud will settle to the bottom, leaving the water clear. If there is a self, the turbulence in the outer realm will cause your mind to move. The mind emptied of self will naturally be calm and peaceful, remained unaffected by any obstruction. You will feel free and independent, and as far as you are concerned, nothing can transcend it.