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art work, om mani padme hum

Nirvana

 
“Nirvana is the way of life that is based on awakening to the reality of impermanence and lack of independent existence. It is not a special stage of practice, nor is it a certain condition of mind; it is simply the way to live one’s life in accordance with reality. When we truly see impermanence and lack of independent existence, we understand deeply that we cannot hold on to anything; nothing lasts forever. Seeing reality encourages us to stop clinging to our lives and their contents and gives us the chance to open the hand of thought before life forces us to open it. This [observing,] seeing, accepting, and letting go is Buddhist practice.
When we deeply understand this reality, and practice in accordance with it, we no longer believe we need to compete with others or with ourselves. We no longer struggle to be more important or powerful than others, and we no longer strive to be who we want to be. This practice of awakening, which is itself nirvana, allows us to settle into the reality of impermanence and lack of independent existence. We then begin to live more peacefully. Nirvana is not a fantastic state of mind like an LSD trip, and it is not a special trance or escape from life. Nor is nirvana a state in which a person no longer experiences pain and sorrow.
The Buddha, for example, was enlightened when he was thirty-six years old. At that time he entered nirvana, and yet his life was not an easy one; he traveled all over India in a time when travel was difficult, for instance, he experienced pain, and eventually he died. But because the Buddha had been released from egocentricity, his hard times were no longer transmigrations in samsara. Pain was simply pain, pleasure was simply pleasure; for him they were no longer part of the cycle of suffering.
Within nirvana we can appreciate both positive and negative experiences as simply the scenery of our lives. “The scenery of life” is another expression Uchiyama Rōshi used to explain our zazen practice. He said that even when we adopt the bodhisattva path and practice zazen, letting go of thought, we still experience many different conditions in all aspects of our lives: some are painful, some are pleasing, and some are neither. Yet all these different conditions are simply the scenery of our lives, and we should keep working and studying, regardless of the circumstances we encounter, so we can investigate the myriad dharmas (all beings and things). In nirvana we can accept all conditions and even enjoy them in a sense, but, of course, acceptance requires our effort in practice, and we must still work to develop ourselves and to relieve the suffering of others. If we open the hand of thought that grasps “this person” (that is, our self ) as the center of the world, then our lives broaden and our hearts open to all beings. This is the basic teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha.”
 
Shohaku Okumura
Realizing Genjokoan, PP. 30f

The present is the only thing that has no end

May be an image of 1 person and text that says '"You can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you. For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end." -Erwin Schrödinger'

“This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear: Tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as ‘I am in the east and in the west, I am below and above, I am this whole world’.

Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you. You are as firmly established, as invulnerable as she, indeed a thousand times firmer and more invulnerable. As surely she will engulf you tomorrow, so surely will she bring you forth anew to new striving and suffering.

And not merely ‘some day’: now, today, every day she is bringing you forth, not once but thousands upon thousands of times, just as every day she engulfs you a thousand times over. For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.”

― Erwin Schrödinger,
My View of the World

If we ourselves remain angry and then sing world peace, it has little meaning

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If we ourselves remain angry and then sing world peace, it has little meaning. First, our individual self must learn peace. This we can practice. Then we can teach the rest of the world.

Change, safety, and growth

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“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth.

Growth must be chosen again and again;

fear must be overcome again and again.”

Open-minded guru

A guru should be open to accepting cultural and habitual differences. For example, if the guru is Tibetan, he or she should be able to value a sincere hippie Australian student’s offering of a treasured seashell as wholeheartedly as a Chinese student’s offering of a kilo of pure gold.
An open-minded guru should be able to work with an American whose strong habit is to believe in a soul and who might be confusing that soul with buddha nature. An open-minded guru should be able to recognize that the habit of Dharma bums with their antiestablishment barter society is not necessarily practicing renunciation. An open-minded guru should understand why his lesbian students are having a hard time visualizing a male consort. An open-minded guru should be able to understand why Jewish people might have trouble accepting the concept that everything is a product of past causes and conditions and therefore there is no such thing as good and evil.
An open-minded guru should know that his Chinese students’ habit of saving face is not necessarily a fear of wrongdoing. An open-minded guru should understand why a Swiss student may not appreciate a wish-fulfilling cow.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book “The Guru Drinks Bourbon?”
With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes
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Things to Let go

May be an image of 1 person and text that says '10 to Zen 1. Let go of comparing 2. Let go of competing. 3. Let go of Judgments. Let go of anger. 5. Let go of regrets. 6. Let go of worrying. 7. Let go of blame. 8. Let go of guilt. 9. Let go of fear. 10. Have a proper belly laugh at least once a day (esp. if it's about your inability to let go of any or all of the above). Facebook Buddha Heart'

Ready to die?

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“Sit solidly in concentration and think not-thinking. How do you do this? Let thoughts go! This is the art of zazen. It is not learning to do meditation. It is the dharma gate of great ease and joy. It is undefiled practice-realization.”
– Dôgen Zenji in the ZazengiAlthough zazen is described here as the gate of great ease and joy, more often than not you will experience pain, fatigue, anger, desire, greed, drowsiness, boredom, frustration, despair, and any other random thoughts. Let them all go.

If you do not sit with the determination to die, you will not be able to find the way of zazen. When you hold onto anything – even your own life – you will be just wasting your time.

Do not fight, just surrender to the posture. If you try to DO zazen, zazen will be far away. If you leave everything to the sitting posture itself, zazen will manifest naturally, automatically. Zazen must not be a tool for you, you have to give up yourself for zazen to realize itself.

– Kodo Sawaki

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