Zen Buddhism Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Zen Buddhism. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life)
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Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.
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Alan W. Watts
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Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.
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Ray Bradbury
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Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.
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Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice)
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Where there are humans, You'll find flies, And Buddhas.
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Kobayashi Issa
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A student, filled with emotion and crying, implored, "Why is there so much suffering?" Suzuki Roshi replied, "No reason.
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Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Is Right Here: Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki, Author of "ZEN Mind, Beginner's Mind" (Kindle Edition))
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Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen.
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Bodhidharma (The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma)
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When you catch yourself slipping into a pool of negativity, notice how it derives from nothing other than resistance to the current situation.
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Donna Quesada (Buddha in the Classroom: Zen Wisdom to Inspire Teachers)
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Too lazy to be ambitious, I let the world take care of itself. Ten days' worth of rice in my bag; a bundle of twigs by the fireplace. Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment? Listening to the night rain on my roof, I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.
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Ryōkan
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When the mind is exhausted of images, it invents its own.
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Gary Snyder (Earth House Hold)
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A fool sees himself as another, but a wise man sees others as himself.
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Dōgen (How to Cook Your Life: From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment)
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To have some deep feeling about Buddhism is not the point; we just do what we should do, like eating supper and going to bed. This is Buddhism.
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Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice)
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When you blame, you open up a world of excuses, because as long as you're looking outside, you miss the opportunity to look inside, and you continue to suffer.
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Donna Quesada (Buddha in the Classroom: Zen Wisdom to Inspire Teachers)
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Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.
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Huang Po (The Zen Teaching of Huang Po: On the Transmission of Mind)
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You are not limited to this body, to this mind, or to this realityβ€”you are a limitless ocean of Consciousness, imbued with infinite potential. You are existence itself.
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Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
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The doctrinal differences between Hinduism and Buddhism and Taoism are not anywhere near as important as doctrinal differences among Christianity and Islam and Judaism. Holy wars are not fought over them because verbalized statements about reality are never presumed to be reality itself.
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Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
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In zazen, leave your front door and your back door open. Let thoughts come and go. Just don't serve them tea.
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Shunryu Suzuki
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But people of the deepest understanding look within, distracted by nothing. Since a clear mind is the Buddha, they attain the understanding of a Buddha without using the mind.
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Bodhidharma (The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma)
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Your body is like a dew-drop on the morning grass, your life is as brief as a flash of lightning. Momentary and vain, it is lost in a moment. (From 'Fukan zazengi')
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Dōgen
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The Lotus in Buddhism is a sacred symbol that represents purity and resurrection as attributes that develop through a spiritual awakening of the self. With humble beginnings in swamplands, the Lotus flower exquisitely blooms, pure and untainted, from this murky world it thrives in. The Lotus flower represents a higher state of mind, a strong spirit cultivated far from the suffering and temptations of this muddied world that personifies beauty through the present moment.
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Forrest Curran (Purple Buddha Project: Purple Book of Self-Love)
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Courage is often associated with aggression, but instead should be seen as a willingness to act from the heart.
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Donna Quesada (Buddha in the Classroom: Zen Wisdom to Inspire Teachers)
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When you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. You should not be a smoky fire. You should burn yourself completely. If you do not burn yourself completely, a trace of yourself will be left in what you do.
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Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice)
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Why can't we simply borrow what is useful to us from Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, especially Zen, as we borrow from Christianity, science, American Indian traditions and world literature in general, including philosophy, and let the rest go hang? Borrow what we need but rely principally upon our own senses, common sense and daily living experience.
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Edward Abbey (Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast)
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He who fights is powerless, but he who loves is power itself.
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Eric Micha'el Leventhal
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Do not lose yourself in the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. Do not get caught in your anger, worries, or fears. Come back to the present moment, and touch life deeply. This is mindfulness.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation)
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For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.
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Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
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Life gives you exactly what you need to awaken.
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T. Scott McLeod
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A world which increasingly consists of destinations without journeys between them, a world which values only "getting somewhere" as fast as possible, becomes a world without substance.
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Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
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While you are continuing this practice, week after week, year after year, your experience will become deeper and deeper, and your experience will cover everything you do in your everyday life. The most important thing is to forget all gain ing ideas, all dualistic ideas. In other words, just practice zazen in a certain posture. Do not think about anything. Just remain on your cushion without expecting anything. Then eventually you will resume your own true nature. That is to say, your own true nature resumes itself.
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Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice)
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The Buddha's original teaching is essentially a matter of four points -- the Four Noble Truths: 1. Anguish is everywhere. 2. We desire permanent existence of ourselves and for our loved ones, and we desire to prove ourselves independent of others and superior to them. These desires conflict with the way things are: nothing abides, and everything and everyone depends upon everything and everyone else. This conflict causes our anguish, and we project this anguish on those we meet. 3. Release from anguish comes with the personal acknowledgment and resolve: we are here together very briefly, so let us accept reality fully and take care of one another while we can. 4. This acknowledgement and resolve are realized by following the Eightfold Path: Right Views, Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Recollection, and Right Meditation. Here "Right" means "correct" or "accurate" -- in keeping with the reality of impermanence and interdependence.
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Robert Aitken (The Dragon Who Never Sleeps: Verses for Zen Buddhist Practice)
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You will bring yourself the suffering you need to bring yourself so that you may awaken.
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T. Scott McLeod (All That Is Unspoken)
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Let go or be dragged.
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Zen Proverb
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True Love is when you are able to see yourself in another, when you recognize that there is no separation between you and any other Being in the Universe.
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Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
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Let me give you a wonderful Zen practice. Wake up in the morning...look in the mirror, and laugh at yourself.
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Bernie Glassman (The Dude and the Zen Master)
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What makes human life--which is inseparable from this moment--so precious is its fleeting nature. And not that it doesn't last but that it never returns again.
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Steve Hagen (Buddhism Is Not What You Think: Finding Freedom Beyond Beliefs)
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Before one studies Zen, mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and waters are no longer waters; after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters.
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Dōgen
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Consider this: 1. Would you ride in a car whose driver was on the consciousness-expanding "entheogenic" drug LSD? And here's a bonus question: 2. Why does an "expanded consciousness" include the inability to operate a motor vehicle?
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Brad Warner (Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth about Reality)
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People get stuck a lot because they're afraid to act; in the worst case,...we get so attached to some end result that we can't function. We need help just to move on, only life doesn't wait.
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Bernie Glassman (The Dude and the Zen Master)
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How much does he lack himself who must have many things?
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Sen no RikyΕ«
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This will never come again
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Steve Hagen
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Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way
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Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
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There is a Zen story about a man riding a horse that is galloping very quickly. Another man, standing alongside the road, yells at him, "Where are you going?" and the man on the horse yells back, "I don't know. Ask the horse." I think that is our situation. We are riding many horses that we cannot control.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (Being Peace (Being Peace, #1))
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Suffering builds character and impels you to penetrate life’s secrets. It’s the path of great artists, great religious leaders, great social reformers. The problem is not suffering per se, but rather our identification with our own ego: our divided, dualistic, cramped view of things. β€˜We are too ego-centered,’ Suzuki tells Cage.’ The ego-shell in which we live is the hardest thing to outgrow. We seem to carry it all the time from childhood up to the time we finally pass away.
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Kay Larson (Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists)
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Life is a whirlwind of many opportunities. Choose to embrace all of them in deepest gratitude. Learn to forgive yourself and honour the heart that beats within you, as well as the head that rests on your shoulders. Learn how to believe in people again and not be judging or cynical to various beliefs. We are all of one light on this one Earth, and loving humanity makes all the difference.
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Michelle Cruz-Rosado
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For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.
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Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
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We teach ourselves; Zen merely points the way.
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D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
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Zen Buddhism is a way and a view of life which does not belong to any of the formal categories of modern Western thought. It is not religion or philosophy; it is not a psychology or a type of science. It is an example of what is known in India and China as a β€œway of liberation,” and is similar in this respect to Taoism, Vedanta, and Yoga. As will soon be obvious, a way of liberation can have no positive definition. It has to be suggested by saying what it is not, somewhat as a sculptor reveals an image by the act of removing pieces of stone from a block.
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Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
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Impermanence and selflessness are not negative aspect of life, but the very foundation on which life is built. Impermanence is the constant transformation of things. Without impermanence, there can be no life. Selflessness is the interdependent nature of all things. Without interdependence, nothing could exist.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh: 365 days of practical, powerful teachings from the beloved Zen teacher)
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Letting go takes a lot of courage sometimes. But once you let go, happiness comes very quickly. You won't have to go around search for it.
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Thich Nhat Hanh
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Yes, silence is painful, but if you endure it, you will hear the cadence of the entire universe.
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Kamand Kojouri
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Shohaku Okumura ~ We cannot expect any ecstasy greater than right here, right nowβ€”our everyday lives.
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Kosho Uchiyama (Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo)
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When mountain-climbing is made too easy, the spiritual effect the mountain exercises vanishes into the air.
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D.T. Suzuki (The Training of the Zen Buddhist Monk)
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The true tragedy in most people’s lives is that they are far better than they imagine themselves to be and, as a result, end up being much less than they might be.
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Earl R. Smith II (Zen Mentoring: Forty Meditations)
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Anywhere we go, we will have our self with us; we cannot escape ourselves.
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Thich Nhat Hanh
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We often try to force the experience we want to have, instead of allowing the experience we were meant to have, and in doing this, we miss out on gaining any new insight or understanding.
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Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
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In the zazen posture, your mind and body have, great power to accept things as they are, whether agreeable or disagreeable. In our scriptures (Samyuktagama Sutra, volume 33), it is said that there are four kinds of horses: excellent ones, good ones, poor ones, and bad ones. The best horse will run slow and fast, right and left, at the driver's will, before it sees the shadow of the whip; the second best will run as well as the first one does, just before the whip reaches its skin; the third one will run when it feels pain on its body; the fourth will run after the pain penetrates to the marrow of its bones. You can imagine how difficult it is for the fourth one to learn how to run!
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Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice)
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Be someone who has nothing. Then everything you have will feel like a luxurious gift. Even better, be someone who doesn't even have a body. Then every touch and every visual offered by the body will feel heavenly.
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Shunya
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When a thing is denied, the very denial involves something not denied.
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D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
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...we're constantly waking up to what we're about, what we're really doing in our lives. And the fact is, that's painful. But there's no possibility of freedom without this pain.
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Charlotte Joko Beck (Nothing Special)
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The prospect of future lives in remote heavens as a compensation for the inadequacy of our present lives is a bad tradeoff for losing out on the present.
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Francis Harold Cook (How to Raise an Ox: Zen Practice as Taught in Zen Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, Including Ten Newly Translated Essays)
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Barn's burnt down--now I can see the moon.
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Masahide
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You are just as connected to the Universe as a finger is to a hand, or as a branch is to a tree. The entire cosmos is expressing itself through your being.
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Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
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Why wait to forgive and let go only after you have sufficiently wallowed in your despair? Why not forgive and let go now?
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Kamand Kojouri
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We do so much, we run so quickly, the situation is difficult, and many people say, "Don't just sit there, do something." But doing more things may make the situation worse. So you should say, "Don't just do something, sit there." Sit there, stop, be yourself first, and begin from there.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (Being Peace (Being Peace, #1))
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Always stay in your own movie.
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Ken Kesey
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the finger pointing at the moon remains a finger and under no circumstances can it be changed into the moon itself.
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D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
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[T]he joy of travel is not nearly so much in getting where one wants to go as in the unsought surprises which occur on the journey.
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Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
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When life is empty, with respect to the past, and aimless, with respect to the future, the vacuum is filled by the present - normally reduced to a hairline, a split second in which there is no time for anything to happen.
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Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
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Indicating his twisted legs without a trace of self-pity or bitterness, as if they belonged to all of us, he casts his arms wide to the sky and the snow mountains, the high sun and dancing sheep, and cries, ’Of course I am happy here! It’s wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!’ In its wholehearted acceptance of what is;I feel as if he had struck me in the chest. Butter tea and wind pictures, the Crystal Mountain, and blue sheep dancing on the snow-it’s quite enough! Have you seen the snow leopard? No! Isn’t that wonderful?
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Peter Matthiessen (The Snow Leopard)
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A boddhisattva is someone who is on the way to becoming a buddha. All of us become boddhisattvas as soon as we start to take our Zen work seriously and the work we do contributes to creating a world in which all good actions become more efficacious.
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David Brazier
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Lao Tzu once said, 'Nature doesn’t hurry, yet everything is accomplished.' A single seed planted, eventually becomes a garden in time – when things get tough, tend to the garden in your mind.
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Jennifer Sodini
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The idea of Zen is to catch life as it flows. There is nothing extraordinary or mysterious about Zen. I raise my hand ; I take a book from the other side of the desk ; I hear the boys playing ball outside my window; I see the clouds blown away beyond the neighbouring wood: β€” in all these I am practising Zen, I am living Zen. No wordy discussions is necessary, nor any explanation. I do not know why β€” and there is no need of explaining, but when the sun rises the whole world dances with joy and everybody’s heart is filled with bliss. If Zen is at all conceivable, it must be taken hold of here.
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D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
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Here's an example: someone says, "Master, please hand me the knife," and he hands them the knife, blade first. "Please give me the other end," he says. And the master replies, "What would you do with the other end?" This is answering an everyday matter in terms of the metaphysical. When the question is, "Master, what is the fundamental principle of Buddhism?" Then he replies, "There is enough breeze in this fan to keep me cool." That is answering the metaphysical in terms of the everyday, and that is, more or less, the principle zen works on. The mundane and the sacred are one and the same.
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Alan W. Watts (What Is Zen?)
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Strong souls face painful tragedies because the universe honours their strength by pulling out its most fearsome weapons against them.
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Shunya
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The thinking brain influences the body’s responses and it makes a neat little loop.
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Brad Warner
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Can you allow yourself to be impaled on the present moment?
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T. Scott McLeod (All That Is Unspoken)
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Maybe it’s something which can’t be defined,” Enso Roshi says. β€œMaybe it’s a question, to be lived.
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T. Scott McLeod (All That Is Unspoken)
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When angry, count to Zen.
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Leonard Scheff
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The more we surrender to what cannot be, the better we control what can be.
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Kamand Kojouri
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The knowledge of the past stays with us. To let go is simply to release any images and emotions.
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Alan W. Watts
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Every day Zuigan used to call out to himself, "Master!" and then he answered himself, "Yes, Sir!" And he added, "Awake, Awake!" and then answered, "Yes, Sir! Yes, Sir!" "From now onwards, do not be deceived by others!" "No, Sir! I will not, Sir!"
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Wumen Huikai (The Gateless Gate)
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Even if you strive diligently on your chosen path day after day, if your heart is not in accord with it, then even if you think you are on a good path, from the point of view of the straight and true, this is not a genuine path. If you do not pursue a genuine path to its consummation, then a little bit of crookedness in the mind will later turn into a major warp. Reflect on this.
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Musashi Miyomoto (A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy)
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Zen has nothing to do with letters, words, or sutras.
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D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
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Perfection itself is not the ultimate goal but the ultimate condition of life.
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Eric Micha'el Leventhal
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The object of Zen is not to kill all feelings and become anesthetized to pain and fear. The object of Zen is to free us to scream loudly and fully when it is time to scream.
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Francis Harold Cook (How to Raise an Ox: Zen Practice as Taught in Zen Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, Including Ten Newly Translated Essays)
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Nothing needs to be done, and things get done.
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T. Scott McLeod (All That Is Unspoken)
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The mind is limitless, in its creations.
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T. Scott McLeod (All That Is Unspoken)
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Let whatever happens, be what needs to happen, so that I may awaken.
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T. Scott McLeod (All That Is Unspoken)
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The awareness that seeks to know is the very object of its own seeking.
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Eric Micha'el Leventhal
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You listen to people, you listen so deeply that you can hear their past lives, The crackle of their funeral pyres,
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Dick Allen (Zen Master Poems)
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What you know can never be the beyond. Whatever you experience is not the beyond. If there is any beyond, this movement of 'you' is absent. The absence of this movement probably is the beyond, but the beyond can never be experienced by you; it is when the 'you' is not there. Why are you trying to experience a thing that cannot be experienced?
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U.G. Krishnamurti (The Mystique of Enlightenment: The Radical Ideas of U.G. Krishnamurti)
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There are no exams in playschool. If you are tired of exams and tests life is throwing at you, make your life like a book from playschool: Less words, more pictures. Less conclusions, more stories. Less meaning, more poetry. Less interpretations, more direct experiences.
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Shunya
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Be aware of yourself without thinking or looking in the mirror
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Bert McCoy
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With passions stilled and one's nature firm, all destinies are in harmony; When the full moon of contemplation is reached you will be pure.
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Wu Cheng'en (Journey to the West (4-Volume Boxed Set))
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I stole this from Zen Master Suzuki Roshi: If it's not paradoxical it's not true!
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C.B. Murphy
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Sometimes it takes a miracle to remind us that the only permanent condition is that of impermanence.
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Eric Micha'el Leventhal
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Reality has no inside, outside, or middle part.
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Bodhidharma
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The way to ascend unto God is to descend into one's self"; -- these are Hugo's words. "If thou wishest to search out the deep things of God, search out the depths of thine own spirit";
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D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
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When you know that you are not in control, everything will feel under control. When you are in the illusion that you are in control, everything will go out of control and you will struggle to maintain your illusion.
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Shunya
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The common suffering is the alienation from oneself, from one’s fellow man, and from nature; the awareness that life runs out of one’s hand like sand, and that one will die without having lived; that one lives in the midst of plenty and yet is joyless.
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Erich Fromm (Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism)
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All of Nature follows perfectly geometric laws. The Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Peruvian, Mayan, and Chinese cultures were well aware of this, as Phiβ€”known as the Golden Ratio or Golden Meanβ€”was used in the constructions of their sculptures and architecture.
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Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
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Among the educated young there is therefore a startling and unprecedented interest in the transformation of human consciousness. All over the Western world publishers are selling millions of books dealing with Yoga, Vedanta, Zen Buddhism, and the chemical mysticism of psychedelic drugs, and I have come to believe that the whole β€œhip” subculture, however misguided in some of its manifestations, is the earnest and responsible effort of young people to correct the self–destroying course of industrial civilization.
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Alan W. Watts (Does It Matter?)
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It is the rub that polishes the jewel,” Enso Roshi says. β€œNobody ever gets to nirvana without going through samsara. Nobody ever gets to heaven, without going through hell. The center of all things, the truth, is surrounded by demons.
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T. Scott McLeod (All That Is Unspoken)
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Life is very simple. Just sometimes put your head away, sometimes behead yourself, sometimes look with no clouds in the eyes - just look. Sometimes sit by the side of a tree - just feel. By the side of a waterfall - listen. Lie down on the beach and listen to the roar of the ocean, feel the sand, the coolness of it, or look at the stars, and let that silence penetrate you. Or look at the dark night and let that velvety darkness surround you, envelop you, dissolve you. This is the way of the simple heart.
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Osho (The Buddha Said...: Meeting the Challenge of Life's Difficulties)
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We took a bus to the nearby monastery of one of the last great Tang dynasty Chan masters, Yun-men. Yun-men was known for his pithy β€œone word” Zen. When asked β€œWhat is the highest teaching of the Buddha?” he replied: β€œAn appropriate statement.” On another occasion, he answered: β€œCake.” I admired his directness.
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Stephen Batchelor (Confession of a Buddhist Atheist)
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There is an emptiness inside us. If we look at it from outside, we feel painful loneliness. If we sit inside that emptiness and look outside, we experience blissful solitude.
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Shunya
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Life can be a party if you stop pretending to be the host, stop trying to micro-manage everything.
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Shunya
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Pencil breaks when you sharpen it fully. A student who wants to write only after fully sharpening the pencil will never be able to write. He will waste whole pencil in sharpening.
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Shunya
β€œ
what is not true does not exist in this moment.
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Bert McCoy
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The son needs the father to have access to his source, and the father needs the son to have access to the future and the infinite.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (No Death, No Fear)
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We should live every day like people who have just been rescued from the moon.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (No Death, No Fear)
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The Buddha is found in other people - even the ones we do not like very much.
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Francis Harold Cook (How to Raise an Ox: Zen Practice as Taught in Zen Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, Including Ten Newly Translated Essays)
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They asked a wise man: Why don’t we ever hear you backbiting and slandering? He said: I’m still not happy with myself to start with others.
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Ahmad Musa Jibril
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Laughter has got to be the single healthiest activity one can perform. Just think how healthy you would be if you could sincerely laugh at that which now oppresses you.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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Well-being, or wholeness, implies integrity and harmony between all existing elements, providing freedom for the whole.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
β€œ
How hard, then, and yet how easy it is to understand Zen! Hard because to understand it is not to understand it; easy because not to understand it is to understand it.
”
”
D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
β€œ
Mindfulness is the difficult art of simply replacing thinking with experiencing.
”
”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
β€œ
KODO SAWAKI: Studying originally meant aspiring to discover the meaning of life. These days studying has become all about getting a job.
”
”
Kosho Uchiyama (Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo)
β€œ
The basic idea of Zen is to come in touch with the inner workings of our being, and to do so in the most direct way possible, without resorting to anything external or superadded.
”
”
D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
β€œ
We can only be here. We can't leave. We are always here.
”
”
Steve Hagen (Buddhism Plain and Simple)
β€œ
The infinite possibilities that exist in any given moment cause infinite possibilities in response. The wording is correct here; the possibilities exist already, and have already caused the existing possibilities of response.
”
”
Darrell Calkins (Re:)
β€œ
We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated "egos" inside bags of skin.
”
”
Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
β€œ
Eventually, it boils down to two choices – do I wish to experience this physical reality primarily through joy or do I want to experience it through suffering? That’s all there is to it. And since each person eventually works their way toward the realization that conscious expansion can happen through joy rather than suffering – enlightenment is a natural byproduct.
”
”
Alaric Hutchinson (Living Peace: Essential Teachings for Enriching Life)
β€œ
Zen has been called the "religion before religion," which is to say that anyone can practice, including those committed to another faith. And that phrase evokes that natural religion of our early childhood, when heaven and a splendorous earth were one. But soon the child's clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, at the bottom of each breath, there is a hollow place filled with longing. We become seekers without knowing that we seek, and at first, we long for something "greater" than ourselves, something apart and far away. It is not a return to childhood, for childhood is not a truly enlightened state. Yet to seek one's own true nature is "a way to lead you to your long lost home." To practice Zen means to realize one's existence moment after moment, rather than letting life unravel in regret of the past and daydreaming of the future. To "rest in the present" is a state of magical simplicity...out of the emptiness can come a true insight into our natural harmony all creation. To travel this path, one need not be a 'Zen Buddhist', which is only another idea to be discarded like 'enlightenment,' and like 'the Buddha' and like 'God.
”
”
Peter Matthiessen (Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals, 1969-1982)
β€œ
Zen perceives and feels, and does not abstract and meditate. Zen penetrates and is finally lost in the immersion. Meditation, on the other hand, is outspokenly dualistic and consequently inevitably superficial.
”
”
D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
β€œ
Before we were born we had no feeling; we were one with the universe. This is called "mind-only," or "essence of mind," or "big mind," After we are separated by birth from this oneness, as the water falling from the waterfall is separated by the wind and rocks, then we have feeling. You have difficulty because you have feeling. You attach to the feeling you have without knowing just how this kind of feeling is created. When you do not realize that you are one with the river, or one with the universe, you have fear. Whether it is separated into drops or not, water is water. Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact we have no fear of death anymore, and we have no actual difficulty in our life.
”
”
Shunryu Suzuki
β€œ
KODO SAWAKI ~ To practice the buddha way is not to let our minds wander but to become one with what we’re doing. This is called zanmai (or samadhi) and shikan (or β€œjust doing”). Eating rice isn’t preparation for shitting; shitting isn’t preparation for making manure. And yet these days people think that high school is preparation for college and college is preparation for a good job.
”
”
Kosho Uchiyama (Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo)
β€œ
If there is anything Zen strongly emphasizes it is the attainment of freedom; that is, freedom from all unnatural encumbrances. Meditation is something artificially put on; it does not belong to the native activity of the mind. Upon what do the fowls of the air meditate? Upon what do the fish in the water meditate? They fly; they swim. Is not that enough? Who wants to fix his mind on the unity of God and man, or on the nothingness of life? Who wants to be arrested in the daily manifestations of his life-activity by such meditations as the goodness of a divine being or the everlasting fire of hell?
”
”
D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
β€œ
Transcendence is more about the personal act of not engaging the enemy, finding a way out of the cage that is being designed for you at a particular moment by others, circumstance, or your own bad habits and ignorance.
”
”
Darrell Calkins (Re:)
β€œ
As we live out of such a mind, we become generous, with no sense of tolerance. We become patient, with no sense of putting up with anything. We become compassionate, with no sense of separation. And we become wise, with no sense of having to straighten anyone out.
”
”
Steve Hagen
β€œ
Zen professes itself to be the spirit of Buddhism, but in fact it is the spirit of all religions and philosophies. When Zen is thoroughly understood, absolute peace of mind is attained, and a man lives as he ought to live.
”
”
D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
β€œ
If two deer meet in a jungle, they silently eat the grass or play. I am this... You did this... How dare you say that... All these arguments take place only when one of them is not a deer. And these arguments will reach no conclusion. They should either silently accept each other or silently walk away. Silence is the most natural thing in both the cases.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
You are a glass of water separated from the blue ocean. Stop looking for blue colour powder. What you are missing is not colour but inner depth.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
When we like something too much, a part of us wants to keep them forever in our 'wishlist' because we know that when wishes comes true, they lose their charm.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
I don't know', 'Maybe', 'Perhaps' - If you have stopped using these phrases, you are imprisoned by your beliefs. You don't have beliefs. Beliefs have you.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
People don't have time to be evil. There is pettiness all around but not much evil.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
Haters turn your followers into worshippers.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
In short, zazen is seeing this world from the casket, without me.
”
”
Kosho Uchiyama (The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo)
β€œ
The only path wide for us all is love.
”
”
Kamand Kojouri
β€œ
Good music can act as a guide to good living.
”
”
Kay Larson (Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists)
β€œ
We find what's in our own heads.
”
”
T. Scott McLeod
β€œ
Search not for happiness outside yourself, for nothing could be further from the truth.
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”
Eric Micha'el Leventhal
β€œ
When you live in the moment, you are always on time
”
”
Dave Rauschkolb
β€œ
[T]here is really nothing 'out there' to get because, already, within this moment, everything is whole and complete.
”
”
Steve Hagen (Buddhism Plain and Simple)
β€œ
[I]mpermanence [is] the very thing that makes [life] vibrant, wonderful, and alive.
”
”
Steve Hagen (Buddhism Plain and Simple)
β€œ
When you break something, is your first impulse to throw it away? Or do you repair it but feel a sadness because it is no longer "perfect"? Whatever the case, you might want to consider the way the Japanese treated the items used in their tea ceremony. Even though they were made from the simplest materials... these teacups and bowls were revered for their plain lines and spiritual qualities. There were treated with the utmost care, integrity and respect. For this reason, a cup from the tea ceremony was almost never broken. When an accident did occur and a cup was broken, there were certain instances in which the cup was repaired with gold. Rather than trying to restore it in a what they would cover the gace that it ahad been broken, the cracks were celebrated in a bold and spirited way. The thin paths of shining gold completely encircled the ceramic cup, announcing to the world that the cup was broken and repaired and vulnerable to change. And in this way, its value was even further enhanced.
”
”
Gary Thorp (Sweeping Changes: Discovering the Joy of Zen in Everyday Tasks)
β€œ
I don’t know where I’m going on this path. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. You had to be lost, before you could be found. These are the truths. You had to be confused, before you could find clarity; you had to suffer, before you could find peace. These were the only ways, life could happen. Of course you were confused before you found clarity. If you weren't confused, then you would already be clear. Of course you were lost before you were found. If you were already found, then you wouldn't be lost. Of course there would be suffering before peace. If there was already peace, then there wouldn't be suffering. One necessarily came before the other.
”
”
T. Scott McLeod (All That Is Unspoken)
β€œ
Every time you feel sad, you become a little silent Now your mind has started associating silence with sadness. Be silent when you are happy. When mind starts associating silence with happiness, going into meditative silence becomes easier.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
Why are trees green? Because of Chlorophyll. But why is that green? Because it absorbs all light except green. But why? Why has no answer. Just wonder how and stay in the state of wonder. Accepting an answer of why kills the wonder of how.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
A Buddha doesn’t observe precepts. A Buddha doesn’t do good or evil. A Buddha isn’t energetic or lazy. A Buddha is someone who does nothing, someone who can’t even focus his mind on a Buddha. A Buddha isn’t a Buddha. Don’t think about Buddhas.
”
”
Bodhidharma (The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma)
β€œ
The universe looks different from different angles. Everyone is right from their perspective. If you say, 'No. Some are right. Others are wrong , then you are also right. There is no absolute right or wrong. Absolute is just silence of nothingness.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
A recently deceased American Zen master and navy veteran, John Daido Loori, used to say that those who think Buddhism is just about stillness end up sitting very silently up to their necks in their own shit.
”
”
Mark Epstein (The Trauma of Everyday Life)
β€œ
Be it a happy song or a sad song, you don't think about its end while listening to it. Inner journey is like a song. Yes, it will end. But if you are thinking about the end, you haven't tuned into the song yet.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
If materialistic world is noise, spirituality or religion is music. Most people just keep shuttling between noise and music. To discover the eternal silence, you have to realize that the music is just refined noise.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
Taking it all in all, Zen is emphatically a matter of personal experience; if anything can be called radically empirical, it is Zen. No amount of reading, no amount of teaching, no amount of contemplation will ever make one a Zen master. Life itself must be grasped in the midst of its flow; to stop it for examination and analysis is to kill it, leaving its cold corpse to be embraced.
”
”
D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
β€œ
Any society, in order to survive, must mold the character of its members in such a way that they want to do what they have to do; their social function must become internalized and transformed into something they feel driven to do, rather than something they are obliged to do.
”
”
Erich Fromm (Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism)
β€œ
Most people don’t want solution of their problem. When someone rants about their problem, imagine someone sitting in a cinema hall and ranting about the villain. They are fully engrossed in this endless movie since many births.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
The world exists because your mind exists. If your mind didn’t exist, there would be no world. As you look at these words, you see them in what appears to be a reality outside of you. What you are really seeing is the image that your mind is creating from the electrical signals being sent to your brain. While they may appear to be outside of you, this is an illusion, they exist within your own mind, and are being projected to appear as if they are outside of you. This apparent reality that is projected by our minds, is maya, and to believe that maya is the ultimate reality is a result of ignorance, or avidya in Sanskrit.
”
”
Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
β€œ
You drop your heavy luggage at departure airport and pick it up at your arrival airport. Being possessive about things and people will only deny you entry into flights of life. Trust the higher powers. What is yours will remain yours.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
What would the doctors do if there were no patients? What would politicians do if there were no social problems? What would humanitarians do if there were no inhumanity? The opposite sides that seem to be fighting each other actually depend on each other, define each other, thrive with each other.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
Have you ever had a dream that you were certain was real, only to wake up and realize that everyone and everything in the dream was really you? Well this is how many mystics describe the nature of our reality, as a dream in which we think we are individual personalities existing in the physical universe. But eventually, like in all dreams, we will wake up. Except in this dream we do not wake up to realize we are still in the world, we awake from the world to realize that we are God.
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”
Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
β€œ
Thoreau got up each morning and walked to the woods as though he had never been where he was going to, so that whatever was there came to him like liquid into an empty glass. Many people taking such a walk would have their heads so full of other ideas that it would be a long time before they were capable of hearing or seeing. Most people are blinded by themselves.
”
”
John Cage (Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists)
β€œ
The eternity of "anytime" shines in this moment "now" while the unlimitedness of "anyplace" is manifested in the limits of "here." When the universality of "anyone" dances out in the individual "I," for the first time you have the world of Zen.
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”
Omori Sogen (An Introduction to Zen Training)
β€œ
Peacock is dancing.” These words can’t show you the dance that I am seeing right now. They can only invoke your past memory when you had seen a peacock dancing. Words always keep you in the past or future. Only silence can let you enjoy the present.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
Recovery through sleep isn’t going to happen if the majority of the components of your being aren’t getting enough stimulation or resistance to work against. Your brain may be tired after work, but if your body and emotions haven’t been challenged through the day, they’re going to keep irritating you even if you’re asleep. They don’t need rest; they need work for real recovery to take place.
”
”
Darrell Calkins (Re:)
β€œ
A great Zen master said just before he died, "From the bathtub, to the bathtub, I have uttered stuff and nonsense." The bathtub in which the baby is washed at birth, the bathtub in which the corpse is washed before burial, all this time I have said much nonsense.
”
”
Alan W. Watts (The Tao of Philosophy: The Edited Transcripts (The Love of Wisdom Library))
β€œ
Examples of fractals are everywhere in nature. They can be found in the patterns of trees, branches, and ferns, in which each part appears to be a smaller image of the whole. They are found in the branch-like patterns of river systems, lightning, and blood vessels. They can be seen in snowflakes, seashells, crystals, and mountain ranges. We can even see the holographic and fractal-like nature of reality in the structure of the Universe itself, as the clusters of galaxies and dark matter resemble the neurons in our brain, the mycelium network of fungi, as well as the network of the man-made Internet.
”
”
Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
β€œ
The application of this knife, the division of the world into parts and the building of this structure, is something everybody does. All the time we are aware of millions of things around us - these changing shapes, these burning hills, the sound of the engine, the feel of the throttle, each rock and weed and fence post and piece of debris beside the road - aware of these things but not really conscious of them unless there is something unusual or unless they reflect something we are predisposed to see. We could not possibly be conscious of these things and remember all of them because our mind would be so full of useless details we would be unable to think. From all this awareness we must select, and what we select and calls consciousness is never the same as the awareness because the process of selection mutates it. We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.
”
”
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
β€œ
I guess even the prettiest things eventually end up stinking. Everything does. We all will die and rot and decay and be reborn as dirt or flowers or worms, or polar bears who will drown because their ice is all melting, or presidents of war-torn countries, or whales swimming around acidifying seas. And then we will rot and decay again. And so it goes.
”
”
Jaimal Yogis (Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea)
β€œ
if my memory serves me right, here is my genealogical line: Boccaccio, Petronius, Rabelais, Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, Maeterlinck, Romain Rolland, Plotinus, Heraclitus, Nietzsche, Dostoievsky (and other Russian writers of the Nineteenth Century), the ancient Greek dramatists, theElizabethan dramatists (excluding Shakespeare), Theodore Dreiser, Knut Hamsun, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Thomas Mann, Elie Faure, Oswald Spengler, Marcel Proust, Van Gogh, the Dadaists and Surrealists, Balzac, Lewis Carroll, Nijinsky, Rimbaud, Blaise Cendrars, Jean Giono, Celine, everything I read on Zen Buddhism, everything I read about China, India, Tibet, Arabia, Africa, and of course the Bible, the men who wrote it and especially the men who made the King James version, for it was the language of the Bible rather than its β€œmessage” which I got first and which I will never shake off.
”
”
Henry Miller (The Books in My Life)
β€œ
We are like waves in the ocean, each with a unique character and quality on the surface, but deep down we are eternally connected to one another and to the ocean as a whole. If you practice looking beyond the surface of appearances, you will begin to see the true Being that lies within each form. You will see your Consciousness looking through the eyes of another, and it is when you see yourself in another that you cannot help but develop compassion for them; because in Truth, there is no β€œthem,” there is only YOU, experiencing yourself from an inconceivable amount of perspectives.
”
”
Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
β€œ
If one candle is brought into an absolutely dark room, the darkness disappears, and there is light. But if ten or a hundred or a thousand candles are added, the room will become brighter and brighter. Yet the decisive change was brought about by the first candle which penetrated the darkness.57
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”
Erich Fromm (Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism)
β€œ
We fail to see the oneness of all things, and because of this, we unknowingly cause a lot of harm to ourselves. We pollute the Earth that we live on, cut down the trees that produce our oxygen, destroy the ecosystems of nature and the animals that maintain them, and we mistreat and harm each other, thinking that these destructive actions will not have a direct effect on us.
”
”
Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
β€œ
When we hear the sound of the pine trees on a windy day, perhaps the wind is just blowing, and the pine tree is just standing in the wind. That is all they are doing. But the people who listen to the wind in the tree will write a poem, or will feel something unusual. That is, I think, the way everything is.
”
”
Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice)
β€œ
We cannot learn if we are stuck in our mind’s conditioned way of thinking. We must be open to discovering the Truth, whatever it may turn out to be. This requires a state of openness, curiosity, and sincerity, a state of pure awareness, a state of observing reality without jumping to conclusions about what reality is. This state of direct experience is known in Zen as β€œbeginner’s mind,” and it is essential to embody this state when we want to understand our experience.
”
”
Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
β€œ
When we perceive the stars, the stars are the object of our perceptionβ€”they exist within us. When we perceive the ocean, the ocean is also within us. The idea that things exist outside of our Consciousness is an illusion. Ancient wisdom traditions have known this for centuries, and even modern science has recognized that our sense organs merely receive information and project it within our own minds. Vision does not take place in the eye, but in an area located in the back of the brain. Everything that we perceive to be β€œout there” is being experienced β€œin here.
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”
Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
β€œ
Have you heard the sound of knife cutting through apple? Have you felt touch of water when you wash your face? No. Because while doing these things you are already thinking of something in future. To be in the present you have to be fully sensitive to your surrounding. More sensitive you are, closer you are to the eternal bliss.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
The new trend of capturing pics instead of enjoying the experience is not new. Human mind has been doing that for ages. Your mind tries to capture the experience by naming, defining, judging, comparing and categorizing everything. As a result, your soul misses the live dance of colours, sounds, shapes and sensations happening before you.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
Zen teacher Lewis Richmond tells the story of hearing Shunryu Suzuki sum up Buddhism in two words. Suzuki had just finished giving a talk to a group of Zen students when someone in the audience said, β€œYou’ve been talking about Buddhism for nearly an hour, and I haven’t been able to understand a thing you said. Could you say one thing about Buddhism I can understand?” After the laughter died down, Suzuki replied calmly, β€œEverything changes.” Those words, Suzuki said, contain the basic truth of existence: Everything is always in flux. Until you accept this, you won’t be able to find true equanimity.
”
”
Phil Jackson (Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success)
β€œ
Many centuries after the Buddha, the Chinese Chan (Zen) patriarch Yunmen (c. 860–949) was asked: β€œWhat are the teachings of an entire lifetime?” Yunmen replied: β€œAn appropriate statement.”6 For Yunmen, what counts is whether your words and deeds are an appropriate response to the situation at hand, not whether they accord with an abstract truth.
”
”
Stephen Batchelor (After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age)
β€œ
When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist. When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish. Things are objects because of the subject; the mind is such because of things. Understand the relativity of these two and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness. In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable and each contains in itself the whole world. If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.
”
”
Sengcan
β€œ
When you say β€œDon’t judge”, you are judging those who judge. To say β€œBe Silent” to yourself, you have to break your silence. The thought of β€œbeing thoughtless” is there even when you are thoughtless. Spiritual truths can’t be practiced at mind level. You have to discover something deeper than the mind which is already non-judgemental, silent and thoughtless, Jo
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
Interbeing: If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. β€œInterbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix β€œinter-” with the verb β€œto be,” we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are. If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist. Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. β€œTo be” is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is. Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of β€œnon-paper elements.” And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without β€œnon-paper elements,” like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.
”
”
Thich Nhat Hanh
β€œ
Last month, Dean Sheeter (whose name usually transports Franny when I mention it) approached me with his gracious smile and bull whip, and I am now lecturing to the faculty, their wives, and a few oppressively-deep type undergraduates every Friday on Zen and Mahayana Buddhism. A feat, I haven’t a doubt, that will eventually earn me the Eastern Philosophy Chair in Hell.
”
”
J.D. Salinger (Franny and Zooey)
β€œ
Left alone, I am overtaken by the northern void-no wind, no cloud, no track, no bird, only the crystal crescents between peaks, the ringing monuments of rock that, freed from the talons of ice and snow, thrust an implacable being into the blue. In the early light, the rock shadows on the snow are sharp; in the tension between light and dark is the power of the universe. This stillness to which all returns, this is reality, and soul and sanity have no more meaning than a gust of snow; such transience and insignificance are exalting, terrifying, all at once…Snow mountains, more than sea or sky, serve as a mirror to one’s own true being, utterly still, utterly clear, a void, an Emptiness without life or sound that carries in Itself all life, all sound.
”
”
Peter Matthiessen (The Snow Leopard)
β€œ
To detach from your character, you should first know it fully -the dark side as well as bright side. It doesn’t mean that you should try everything in the world. To know itself, a tree doesn’t need to get hit by an axe at every inch of its being. The air around it can make it feel how far its branches go. When you are in a position to do something and do it, you only get to know one side of you. When you don’t do it, you get to know two sides of you -the one that wanted to do it and the other that didn’t.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease. If the mind makes no discriminations, the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence. To understand the mystery of this One essence is to be released from all entanglements. When all things are seen equally the timeless Self-essence is reached. No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state. Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion, both movement and rest disappear. When such dualities cease to exist Oneness itself cannot exist. To this ultimate finality no law or description applies.
”
”
Sengcan
β€œ
We can create some information about Buffalo, milk and its nutritional values. We can exchange that information with each other for money, appreciation etc. A monk living alone in jungle doesn't know words such as Buffalo, milk or nutrition. He just wonders, "Green grass enters into this big black thing and a white liquid comes out of it. How!" He can't exchange this wonder with anyone but it transports him to eternity.
”
”
Shunya
β€œ
The essence of your mind is not born, so it will never die. It is not an existence, which is perishable. It is not an emptiness, which is a mere void. It has neither colour nor form. It enjoys no pleasures and suffers no pains. I know you are very ill. Like a good Zen student, you are facing that sickness squarely. You may not know exactly who is suffering, but question yourself: What is the essence of this mind? Think only of this. You will need no more. Covet nothing. Your end which is endless is as a snowflake dissolving in pure air.
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Bassui Takusho
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I grow into these mountains like a moss. I am bewitched. The blinding snow peaks and the clarion air, the sound of earth and heaven in the silence, the requiem birds, the mythic beasts, the flags, great horns, and old carved stones, the silver ice in the black river, the Kang, the Crystal Mountain. Also, I love the common miracles-the murmur of my friends at evening, the clay fires of smudgy juniper, the coarse dull food, the hardship and simplicity, the contentment of doing one thing at a time… gradually my mind has cleared itself, and wind and sun pour through my head, as through a bell. Though we talk little here, I am never lonely; I am returned into myself. In another life-this isn’t what I know, but how I feel- these mountains were my home; there is a rising of forgotten knowledge, like a spring from hidden aquifers under the earth. To glimpse one’s own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon- the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the supper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again to the sky.
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Peter Matthiessen (The Snow Leopard)
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Because we feel ourselves to be separate from the world in which we live, we have also grown to feel quite alone in this world. Our sense of loneliness and isolation not only makes us feel depressed and miserable, but it also causes us to be anxious and afraid of the world and everyone in it. Because of this inherent fear, we put up all kinds of barriers to protect us from the worldβ€”barriers that we have created to keep us safe, but that really end up making us feel more alone, more miserable, and more afraid, as they prevent us from being our natural selves.
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Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
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Well-being is the state of having arrived at the full development of reason: reason not in the sense of a merely intellectual judgment, but in that of grasping truth by β€œletting things be” (to use Heidegger’s term) as they are. Well-being is possible only to the degree to which one has overcome one’s narcissism; to the degree to which one is open, responsive, sensitive, awake, empty (in the Zen sense). Well-being means to be fully related to man and nature affectively, to overcome separateness and alienation, to arrive at the experience of oneness with all that existsβ€”and yet to experience myself at the same time as the separate entity I am, as the individual. Well-being means to be fully born, to become what one potentially is; it means to have the full capacity for joy and for sadness or, to put it still differently, to awake from the half-slumber the average man lives in, and to be fully awake. If it is all that, it means also to be creative; that is, to react and to respond to myself, to others, to everything that existsβ€”to react and to respond as the real, total man I am to the reality of everybody and everything as he or it is. In this act of true response lies the area of creativity, of seeing the world as it is and experiencing it as my world, the world created and transformed by my creative grasp of it, so that the world ceases to be a strange world β€œover there” and becomes my world. Well-being means, finally, to drop one’s Ego, to give up greed, to case chasing after the preservation and the aggrandizement of the Ego, to be and to experience one’s self in the act of being, not in having, preserving, coveting, using.
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Erich Fromm (Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism)
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Your life is like a TV serial. You are the watcher, the audience. Producer of this TV serial is Maya (Interplay of Time and Space). You say to the producer, β€œI am very angry at this and this villain.” The producer’s purpose is to invoke emotions in audience and make money. If you are angry, it’s good for producer. More you get angry at characters, more their screentime will be increased in next episode. When they stop invoking any emotion in you, only then they will be thrown out of the TV serial.
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Shunya
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This universe is like a company. Being detached doesn’t mean quitting the job. It means being at a position where you do your job and the entire universe seems to be helping you in your job. It doesn’t mean being the CEO or a king. You can have any role and still be in that position. A detached farmer does his job and the entire universe, including the king and the clouds, seem to be working for him and helping him in his job. On the other hand, for an attached king, even his family members work against him.
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Shunya
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In Advaita Vedanta, and in many other ancient wisdom traditions, the world is said to be an illusion. This illusion is commonly referred to as maya, a Sanskrit name which refers to the apparent, or objective reality which is superimposed on the ultimate reality in order to generate the phenomena of what we call the material world. Maya is the magic by which we create dualityβ€”by which we create two worlds from one. This creation is an illusory creationβ€”it is not realβ€”it is an imaginary manifestation of the one Universal Consciousness, appearing as all of the various phenomena in objective reality. Maya is God’s, or Consciousness’s, creative power of emptying or reflecting itself into all things and thus creating all thingsβ€”the power of subjectivity to take on objective appearance.
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Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
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I see that this bodyβ€”made of the four elementsβ€”is not really me, and I am not limited by this body. I am the whole of the river of life, of blood ancestors and spiritual ancestors, that has been continuously flowing for thousands of years and flows on for thousands of years into the future. I am one with my ancestors and my descendants. I am life manifesting in countless different forms. I am one with all people and all species, whether they are peaceful and joyful or suffering and afraid. At this very moment I am present everywhere in this world. I have been present in the past and will be there in the future. The disintegration of this body does not touch me, just as when the petals of the plum blossom fall it does not mean the end of the plum tree. I see that I am like a wave on the surface of the ocean. I see myself in all the other waves, and I see all the other waves in me. The manifestation or the disappearance of the wave does not lessen the presence of the ocean. My Dharma body and spiritual life are not subject to birth or death. I am able to see my presence before this body manifested and after this body disintegrates. I am able to see my presence outside this body, even in the present moment. Eighty or ninety years is not my life span. My life span, like that of a leaf or of a buddha, is immeasurable. I am able to go beyond the idea that I am a body separate from all other manifestations of life, in time and in space.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (The Art of Living: mindful techniques for peaceful living from one of the world’s most revered spiritual leaders)
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The ability to remain constant, whole and playful, even while working technically, concentrating and upholding urgency, is essential to achieve a state of balance that will allow for this to happen. This has to come to life, and cannot stay just an idea or hope or intention or imitation, or ignored. The guarantee and proof that this balance and power is real is in its actualization. That is, that it manifests in functional reality. As in any intention, whether that be vague or specific, an ambition or desire, a goal or state of being, a question or hope, a curiosity or purpose, there exist natural and unnatural obstacles to its realization.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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Even in zazen you will lose yourself. When you become sleepy, or when your mind starts to wander about, you lose yourself. When your legs become painfulβ€”β€œWhy are my legs so painful?”—you lose yourself. ” - β€œYou just sit in the midst of the problem; when you are a part of the problem, or when the problem is a part of you, there is no problem, because you are the problem itself. The problem is you yourself. If this is so, there is no problem.” - β€œWhen you start to wander about in some delusion which is something apart from you yourself, then your surroundings are not real anymore, and your mind is not real anymore. If you yourself are deluded, then your surroundings are also a misty, foggy delusion. Once you are in the midst of delusion, there is no end to delusion. You will be involved in deluded ideas one after another. Most people live in delusion, involved in their problem, trying to solve their problem. But just to live is actually to live in problems. And to solve the problem is to be a part of it, to be one with it.
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Shunryu Suzuki
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What is personal death? Asking this question and pausing to look inward - isn't personal death a concept? Isn't there a thought-and-picture series going on in the brain? These scenes of personal ending take place solely in the imagination, and yet they trigger great mental ad physical distress - thinking of one's cherished attachments an their sudden, irreversible termination. Similarly, if there is 'pain when I let some of the beauty of life in' - isn't this pain the result of thinking, 'I won't be here any longer to enjoy this beauty?' Or, 'No one will be around and no beauty left to be enjoyed if there is total nuclear devastation.' Apart from the horrendous tragedy of human warfare - why is there this fear of 'me' not continuing? Is it because I don't realize that all my fear and trembling is for an image? Because I really believe that this image is myself? In the midst of this vast, unfathomable, ever-changing, dying, and renewing flow of life, the human brain is ceaselessly engaged in trying to fix for itself a state of permanency and certainty. Having the capacity to think and form pictures of ourselves, to remember them and become deeply attached to them, we take this world of pictures and ideas for real. We thoroughly believe in the reality of the picture story of our personal life. We are totally identified with it and want it to go on forever. The idea of "forever" is itself an invention of the human brain. Forever is a dream. Questioning beyond all thoughts, images, memories, and beliefs, questioning profoundly into the utter darkness of not-knowing, the realization may suddenly dawn that one is nothing at all - nothing - that all one has been holding on to are pictures and dreams. Being nothing is being everything. It is wholeness. Compassion. It is the ending of separation, fear, and sorrow. Is there pain when no one is there to hold on? There is beauty where there is no "me".
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Toni Packer (The Work of This Moment)
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Fifteen years ago, a business manager from the United States came to Plum Village to visit me. His conscience was troubled because he was the head of a firm that designed atomic bombs. I listened as he expressed his concerns. I knew if I advised him to quit his job, another person would only replace him. If he were to quit, he might help himself, but he would not help his company, society, or country. I urged him to remain the director of his firm, to bring mindfulness into his daily work, and to use his position to communicate his concerns and doubts about the production of atomic bombs. In the Sutra on Happiness, the Buddha says it is great fortune to have an occupation that allows us to be happy, to help others, and to generate compassion and understanding in this world. Those in the helping professions have occupations that give them this wonderful opportunity. Yet many social workers, physicians, and therapists work in a way that does not cultivate their compassion, instead doing their job only to earn money. If the bomb designer practises and does his work with mindfulness, his job can still nourish his compassion and in some way allow him to help others. He can still influence his government and fellow citizens by bringing greater awareness to the situation. He can give the whole nation an opportunity to question the necessity of bomb production. Many people who are wealthy, powerful, and important in business, politics, and entertainment are not happy. They are seeking empty things - wealth, fame, power, sex - and in the process they are destroying themselves and those around them. In Plum Village, we have organised retreats for businesspeople. We see that they have many problems and suffer just as others do, sometimes even more. We see that their wealth allows them to live in comfortable conditions, yet they still suffer a great deal. Some businesspeople, even those who have persuaded themselves that their work is very important, feel empty in their occupation. They provide employment to many people in their factories, newspapers, insurance firms, and supermarket chains, yet their financial success is an empty happiness because it is not motivated by understanding or compassion. Caught up in their small world of profit and loss, they are unaware of the suffering and poverty in the world. When we are not int ouch with this larger reality, we will lack the compassion we need to nourish and guide us to happiness. Once you begin to realise your interconnectedness with others, your interbeing, you begin to see how your actions affect you and all other life. You begin to question your way of living, to look with new eyes at the quality of your relationships and the way you work. You begin to see, 'I have to earn a living, yes, but I want to earn a living mindfully. I want to try to select a vocation not harmful to others and to the natural world, one that does not misuse resources.' Entire companies can also adopt this way of thinking. Companies have the right to pursue economic growth, but not at the expense of other life. They should respect the life and integrity of people, animals, plants and minerals. Do not invest your time or money in companies that deprive others of their lives, that operate in a way that exploits people or animals, and destroys nature. Businesspeople who visit Plum Village often find that getting in touch with the suffering of others and cultivating understanding brings them happiness. They practise like Anathapindika, a successful businessman who lived at the time of the Buddha, who with the practise of mindfulness throughout his life did everything he could to help the poor and sick people in his homeland.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World)