What good is counting others’ treasures

From Yung-chia‘s Song of Enlightenment, in Red Pine/Bill Porter’s translation.

I learned a lot when I was young
I read sutras and shastra and studied commentaries
the names and terms never seemed to end
like counting sand in the sea it was such a waste of effort

Scolded by the Tathagata
what good is counting others’ treasures
I realized all my efforts had been in vain
all the years I had wasted braving dust and wind

Misguided from the start my understanding wrong
I didn’t know how the Buddha’s sudden teaching worked
why devotees of lesser paths didn’t see the Way
why unbelievers might be smart but not wise

They’re so foolish so stupid
pointing to their palm to explain what’s real
mistaking a finger for the moon
turning objects of the senses into ghost stories

Who doesn’t see a thing is a tathagata
hence the name Looking from on High
those who understand are free of karmic burdens
those who don’t still have old debts to pay
a hunger that keeps them from sharing a royal meal
a sickness even a great physician can’t cure

To meditate despite desire is the power of prajna
why a lotus isn’t burned in a fire
Yung-shih committed crimes then realized nothing is born
he became a buddha and is still one today

When the Lion roars its fearless teaching
it pities confused obstinate fools
who only see offenses that prevent buddhahood
blind to the secret the Tathagata revealed

Two monks were guilty of crimes
so judged Upali with his firefly light
Layman Vimalakirti dismissed their doubts
as if the sun melted the snow

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