Song of Trusting the Heart
A Classic Zen Poem for Daily Meditation
Winner of two awards from Nautilus Book Awards: the Gold Award in the Gift/Specialty category and the Silver Award in the Religion/Spirituality (Eastern) category. Nautilus Book Awards Silver and Gold Winners are carefully selected in a unique three-tier judging process by experienced teams of book reviewers, librarians, authors, editors, book store owners, and leaders in the publishing industry. Each book is evaluated by at least two judges at each level and consensus is required for each award.
Zen masters say only one thing matters in life—the now, and only one thing matters at death—a peaceful heart. The way to achieve both is vibrantly expressed in the poem “Song of Trusting the Heart” (also known as Hsin Hsin Ming or Faith Mind Inscription), an ancient Chinese scripture beloved by sages and considered a cornerstone of Zen Buddhism.
Written in the 6th century by Jianzhi Sengcan—the third Zen patriarch of China—the poem inspires its readers to experience life without the burdens of attachments and judgments, however the few existing translations are either dated or weighed down with commentary. Tamarack Song, a student of nature and indigenous cultures, adapts these verses to the modern seeker, while staying faithful to the poem’s original phrasing. Each stanza is embellished with a striking full-page, original illustration by the Japanese brush-painting master Jan Zaremba.
The book starts with a brief introduction to Zen, exploring its obscure origins, then offers one verse for each day of the lunar month. This beautiful little volume will become a daily meditation guide for those looking for refinement and peace in our modern world.
Tamarack Song lives in northern Wisconsin, where his passion for nature, indigenous cultures, and achieving balance in an unbalanced world led him to found the Teaching Drum Outdoors School, where he teaches his students to align with nature as our ancestors once did.
Praise for Song of the Trusting Heart
This ancient yet timeless Heart-Trust Song is one of my absolute favorite Buddhist texts and teachings. I recommend it to all my students, reminding them to re-read it constantly, and never stray far from it. You, too, can find wisdom and delight in this wonderful poem and fine translation.
—Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within
In this poem, the third Chan patriarch Jianzhi Sengcan encourages us to go beyond clinging, prejudice, and our addiction to having opinions based on our self-centeredness and ignorance. He steers us toward non-dual awareness, but arriving at that understanding is not a simple matter of our mind willing it. We need to investigate and clearly see our mistaken ways of thinking and feeling, and then through putting easeful effort into realizing how things actually exist, release them and bring to the fore love, compassion, and wisdom.
—Thubten Chodron, author of Open Heart, Clear Mind
Listen to and feel the spirit of these sacred verses. They are currents of homecoming, reminders of the vast beauty and mystery that is our essence.
—Tara Brach, Ph.D., author of Radical Acceptance
Tamarack Song’s beautiful, clear interpretation of my favorite Zen scripture especially captures the essence of true, effortless non-dual realization. May all who see it immediately open to the always open Heart.
—Gangaji, author of The Diamond in Your Pocket