But it can happen that a phrase intended to indicate a state beyond concepts just becomes another concept in itself, in the same way that if you ask a person their name and they reply that they have no name, you will then perhaps mistakenly call them ‘No name’.
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
“Whatever you resist you become. If you resist anger, you are always angry. If you resist sadness, you are always sad. If you resist suffering, you are always suffering. If you resist confusion, you are always confused. We think that we resist certain states because they are there, but actually, they are there because we resist them.”
Artist: Daniel Vazquez
Even within Buddhism, there are various descriptions of this, but in the Mahayana tradition it [is] taught that the main criterion for an action being virtuous or non-virtuous is whether one’s intention is or is not virtuous. If you hold the motivation in your mind to be of benefit to others and that they may come to enjoy temporary and ultimate happiness and well-being, whatever actions of body, speech, and mind you may perform, they will all be on the side of virtue. But if you act with a negative mindset, out of a motivation that is afflicted by being jealous, malicious, competitive, and so on toward others, whatever you do will be non-virtuous. In brief, whether an action is considered as virtuous or non-virtuous depends mainly upon the underlying motivation or mindset either positive or negative. The results of good actions will also be good, while the outcomes of bad actions will be negative and painful.
– 17th Karmapa
from the book “Heart Advice of the Karmapa”
“Yes, there is tremendous suffering all over the world, but knowing this need not paralyze us. If we practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful sitting, and working in mindfulness, we try our best to help, and we can have peace in our heart.
Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse.
Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so. If we don’t know how to breathe, smile, and live every moment of our life deeply, we will never be able to help anyone.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
You want to become a buddha? There’s no need to become a buddha! Now is simply now. You are simply you. And tell me, since you want to leave the place where you are, where is it exactly you want to go?
We don’t practice in order to get satori. It’s satori that pulls our practice. We practice, being dragged all over by satori.
You don’t seek the way. The way seeks you.
You study, you do sports, and you’re fixated on satori and illusion. So that even zazen becomes a marathon for you, with satori as the finish line. Yet because you’re trying to grab it, you’re missing it completely. Only when you stop meddling like this does your original, cosmic nature realizes itself.
You say you’re seeking the way, but what does it mean if you’re seeking the way just to satisfy yourself?
Zazen means just sitting without even thinking of becoming buddha.
We don’t achieve satori through practice: practice is satori. Each and every step is the goal.
– Kodo Sawaki, To You
The more we watch our mind and see what it does to us and for us, the more we will be inclined to take good care of it and treat it with respect. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is taking the mind for granted. The mind has the capacity to create good and also evil for us, and only when we are able to remain happy and even-minded no matter what conditions are arising, only then can we say that we have gained a little control. Until then we are out of control and our thoughts are our master.
– Ayya Khema
With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes
Apart from water, there is no ice;
Apart from beings, no Buddha.
How sad that people ignore the near
And search for truth afar:
Like someone in the midst of water
Crying out in thirst,
Like a child of a wealthy home
Wandering among the poor.
Lost on dark paths of ignorance,
We wander through the Six Worlds,
From dark path to dark path–
When shall we be freed from birth and death?
Oh, the zazen of the Mahayana!
To this the highest praise!
Devotion, repentance, training,
The many paramitas–
All have their source in zazen.
Those who try zazen even once
Wipe away beginning-less crimes.
Where are all the dark paths then?
The Pure Land itself is near.
Those who hear this truth even once
And listen with a grateful heart,
Treasuring it, revering it,
Gain blessings without end.
Much more, those who turn about
And bear witness to self-nature,
Self-nature that is no-nature,
Go far beyond mere doctrine.
Here effect and cause are the same,
The Way is neither two nor three.
With form that is no-form,
Going and coming, we are never astray,
With thought that is no-thought,
Singing and dancing are the voice of the Law.
Boundless and free is the sky of Samádhi!
Bright the full moon of wisdom!
Truly, is anything missing now?
Nirvana is right here, before our eyes,
This very place is the Lotus Land,
This very body, the Buddha.– Hakuin
Don’t move. Just die over and over. Don’t anticipate. Nothing can save you now because you have only this moment. Not even enlightenment will help you now because there are no other moments. With no future, be true to yourself and express yourself fully. Don’t move.
– Shunryu Suzuki
quoted in the book “365 Nirvana Here and Now: Living Every Moment in Enlightenment”
With thanks to Gems of Wisdom – Zen Tradition
If we recognize the unchanging, absolute nature of phenomena, we will also recognize their intangibility. Things appear yet are empty; they are empty yet appear. Emptiness is not the absence of phenomena, and phenomena are not the absence of emptiness. Rather, there is a union of appearance and emptiness. Just having a glimpse of understanding that things are not as they appear is already a big step toward seeing the true nature of things. We are like a naïve child who is easily fooled by appearances until we gain this understanding. In our confusion, we treat the phenomenal world as solid and real. We do not see that it is merely an expression of wisdom and the display of emptiness. We reify phenomena and this sets in motion an unending succession of attractions and aversions that lead to craving and desire. This one mistake, solidifying phenomena, gives rise to the endless cycle of samsara.
– Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche
from the book “The Great Medicine That Conquers Clinging to the Notion of Reality: Steps in Meditation on the Enlightened Mind”
With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes
Sit on a cushion in a manner as comfortable as possible, wearing loose clothing. Hold your body straight without leaning to the left or the right, forward or backward. Your ears should be in a line with your shoulders, and nose in a straight line with your navel. Keep the tongue at the roof of the mouth and close your lips. Eyes are slightly open, and breathing is quiet through the nostrils.
– Dogen Zenji
from the book “Buddhism and Zen”
from the book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”
When you are young and vigorous
You never think of old age coming,
But it approaches slow and sure
Like a seed growing underground.
When you are strong and healthy
You never think of sickness coming,
But it descends with sudden force
Like a stroke of lightning.
When involved in worldly things
You never think of death’s approach.
Quick it comes like thunder
Crashing round your head.
Sickness, old age and death
Ever meet each other
As do hands and mouth.
Waiting for his prey in ambush,
Yama is ready for his victim,
When disaster catches him.
Sparrows fly in single file. Like them,
Life, Death and Bardo follow one another.
Never apart from you
Are these three ‘visitors’.
Thus thinking, fear you not
Your sinful deeds?
Like strong arrows in ambush waiting,
Rebirth in Hell, as Hungry Ghost, or Beast
Is (the destiny) waiting to catch you.
If once into their traps you fall,
Hard will you find it to escape.
Do you not fear the miseries
You experienced in the past?
Surely you will feel much pain
If misfortunes attack you?
The woes of life succeed one another
Like the sea’s incessant waves
One has barely passed, before
The next one takes its place.
Until you are liberated, pain
and pleasure come and go at random
Like passers-by encountered in the street.
Pleasures are precarious,
Like bathing in the sun;
Transient, too, as snowstorms
Which come without warning.
Remembering these things,
Why not practise the Dharma?
from the book The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, Vol. 2
translated by Garma C. C. Chang
When you touch a hot stove, as soon as you become aware of the pain, you immediately pull your hand away. You don’t let it rest on the burner in order to explore the pain. In the same way, we stay present with strong emotion only very briefly at first. The instruction is: short moments again and again. Rather than trying to endure prolonged exposure to intense feeling, we touch in for only two or three seconds, then pause and breathe gently before touching in again. Or we might simply stay with the troubling feeling for five or six minutes and then go on with our day, more in touch with our emotions and, therefore, less likely to be dragged around by them.
– Pema Chödron
from the book “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change”
“How does it taste?” the master asked.
“Bitter,” said the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”
“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.
“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.
“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,
“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”
If you want to obtain perfect calmness in your zazen [meditation], you should not be bothered by the various images you find in your mind. Let them come, and let them go. Then they will be under control. But this policy is not so easy. It sounds easy, but it requires some special effort. How to make this kind of effort is the secret of practice. Suppose you are sitting under some extraordinary circumstances. If you try to calm your mind you will be unable to sit, and if you try not to be disturbed, your effort will not be the right effort. The only effort that will help you is to count your breathing or to concentrate on your inhaling and exhaling. We say concentration, but to concentrate your mind on something is not the true purpose of Zen. The true purpose is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes. This is to put everything under control in its widest sense. Zen practice is to open up our small mind. So concentrating is just an aid to help you realize “big mind,” or the mind that is everything.
– Shunryu Suzuki
from the book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”
Martin Scorcese did this film in 1997 about the life of the Dalai Lama
“Then by another?”
“Then both together, myself and another?”
“Then is it brought about by chance?”
“Then is there no suffering?”
“No, Kassapa, it is not that there is no suffering. For there is suffering.”
“Well then, perhaps you neither know nor see it, Buddha.”
“It is not that I don’t know suffering or don’t see it. I know it well and see it.”
“But to all my questions, good Buddha, you have answered no—and yet you say you know suffering and see it. Please teach me about it.”
“Kassapa, there are two wrong views. One says that oneself is the entire author of a deed and all consequent suffering one brings upon oneself and this is so from the beginning of time. The other says that it is deeds by other people that bring about one’s own suffering.
You should avoid both these views, Kassapa. Here we teach another way. All deeds, wether your own or another’s are conditionned by ignorance and that is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. By ending that ignorance in youself, and by way of yourself in others, wisdom comes into being and the suffering ceases. »