The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step




art work, om mani padme hum

True mind and false mind are one

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Beginning meditators usually think they must suppress all thoughts and feelings (often called “false mind”) in order to create conditions favorable to concentration and understanding (called “true mind”). They use methods such as focusing their attention on an object or counting their breaths to try to block out thoughts and feelings. Concentrating on an object and counting the breath are excellent methods, but they should not be used for suppression or repression. We know that as soon as there is repression, there is rebellion – repression entails rebellion. True mind and false mind are one. Denying one is denying the other. Suppressing one is suppressing the other. Our mind is our self. We cannot suppress it. We must treat it with respect, with gentleness, and absolutely without violence. Since we do not even know what our “self” is, how can we know if it is true or false, and whether or what to suppress? The only thing we can do is to let the sunlight of awareness shine on our “self” and enlighten it, so we can look at it directly.– Thich Nhat Hanh

The five precepts of Buddhism

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'The Five Precepts of Buddhism 1. Refrain from harming living beings 2. Refrain from taking that which is not freely given 3. Refrain from sexual misconduct 4. Refrain from wrong speech; such as lying, idle chatter, malicious gossip or harsh speech 5. Refrain from intoxicating drink and drugs which lead to carelessness'

Whenever a strong desire or a burst of anger inflames your mind

“In practice, whenever a strong desire or a burst of anger inflames your mind, look closely at your thoughts and recognize their fundamental emptiness. If you allow them to, those thoughts and feelings will dissolve by themselves. When you can do the same with the next thought and with all that follow, they will lose their hold over you.”
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


May be an image of text that says '"Millions of people never analyze themselves. Mentally they are mechanical products of the factory of their environment, preoccupied with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, working and sleeping, and going here and there to be entertained. They don't know what or why they are seeking, nor why they never realize complete happiness and lasting satisfaction. By evading self-analysis, people go on being robots, conditioned by their environment. True self-analysis is the greatest art of progress." -Paramahansa Yogananda'

Little by little

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After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress. Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, you do not know you are getting wet, but as you keep walking you get wet little by little. If your mind has ideas of progress, you may say, “Oh, this pace is terrible!” But actually, it is not. When you get wet in a fog it is very difficult to dry yourself. So there is no need to worry about progress.
– Shunryu Suzuki

That is why we practice zazen

Shikantaza is to practice or actualize emptiness. Although you can have a tentative understanding of it through your thinking, you should understand emptiness through your experience. You have an idea of emptiness and an idea of being, and you think that being and emptiness are opposites. But in Buddhism, both of these are ideas of being. The emptiness we mean is not like the idea you may have. You cannot reach a full understanding of emptiness with your thinking mind or with your feeling. That is why we practice zazen.

– Shunryu Suzuki

When we are sharply focused, there is nothing that we cannot realize

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Zen is about experiencing one’s true nature. The 6th patriarch said to not be moved around by what arises externally or internally. Yet in our daily life, we are constantly seeing and hearing things and are moved around by them. Thus we become slaves to circumstances.
There are the experiences of like and dislike, thoughts about gain and loss – this complicated shadow of the ego follows us along. Our mind is always busy and engaged.
When we do zazen, we cannot practice zazen as a form only, but zazen of the mind is important. When we are sharply focused, there is nothing that we cannot realize, the Buddha taught. We can use the extended out-breath or the koan MU, or a mantra… Eventually, our seeing becomes MU, our hearing becomes MU. We slowly let go of ideas and use this MU as if we are mirroring the world. This mirror does not judge and criticize. This empty mind then reflects the world.
One moment at a time, only right here and now can this mind arise and act. There is no confusion or attachment possible. This state of mind brings forth clear perception and decision-making as well as functioning.
Shodo Harada Roshi

The truth which is natural to awareness

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Obsessive use of meditative disciplines or perennial study of scripture and philosophy will never bring forth this wonderful realization, this truth which is natural to awareness, because the mind that desperately desires to reach another realm or level of experience inadvertently ignores the basic light that constitutes all experience.
– Tilopa

The cause of suffering

Not recognizing the emptiness of phenomena is the cause of suffering. If we have a strong belief in external phenomena, this leads us to regard external phenomena as either good or bad. If we feel that the external phenomena are good, then we develop strong attachment to these external phenomena. If we regard external phenomena as bad, then we develop a strong aversion to them. This leads to further suffering. However, if we understand that external phenomena are not solid from the very first, then both the cause of suffering and the result of suffering will be naturally pacified.
– Thrangu Rinpoche
from the book “Distinguishing Dharma and Dharmata, A Commentary on The Treatise of Maitreya”
With thank to Just Dharma Quotes

Look at the lake in front of the gate

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Look at the lake in front of the gate.
When the sun shines
It radiates light and brightness;
When the wind comes
There arise ripples and waves.
There is a time for peaceful contemplation,
There is a time for dynamic action,
And all the time the lake remains itself.

~ Yongming Yanshou

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