With resolve and sincerity, one should aim to exceed the ancients in purity and surpass the former worthies in attentiveness. The way to put that aspiration into practice in one’s own person is, for example, to take the same three coins that one’s predecessors spent to make a soup of the crudest greens and use them to now to make a soup of the finest cream. This is difficult to do. Why is that? Because present and past are completely different, like the distance between heaven and earth. How could we ever be able to equal their stature? Nevertheless, when we work attentively, therein lies the principle that makes it possible to surpass our predecessors.
That you still do not grasp the certainty of this principle is because your thinking scatters, like wild horses, and your emotions run wild, like monkeys in a forest. If you can make those monkeys and horses, just once, take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward, then naturally you will be completely integrated. This is the means by which we, who are [ordinarily] set into motion by things, become able to set things into motion.
Harmonizing and purifying yourself in this manner, do not lose either the one eye [of transcendent wisdom] or the two eyes [of discriminating consciousness]. Lifting a single piece of vegetable, make [yourself into] a six-foot body [i.e. a buddha] and ask that six-foot body to prepare a single piece of vegetable. Those are [the cook’s] spiritual penetrations and magical transformations, his buddha-work and benefiting of living beings.
Having prepared [everything] so that the preparations are finished, and cooked [everything] so that the cooking is done, look to “that side” and put things away on “this side”. When the drum sounds or the bell rings, join the assembly [of monks in training] and attend the convocation [to hear the abbot’s teachings]. “Morning and evening, seek and attend”, without being remiss even once.