The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step

Practice

Applying right speech is difficult in the beginning

Applying right speech is difficult in the beginning but if you practice every time you talk to someone, the mind will learn how to be aware, to understand what it should or should not say, and to know when it is necessary to talk.
Sayadaw U Tejaniya, “The Wise Investigator”

Overcoming obstacles

 

 

Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth.
~Dharmapada~


No trace

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and indoor, text that says 'When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself. Shunryu Suzuki'


Yes, there is tremendous suffering all over the world, but knowing this need not paralyze us

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“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


There’s no need to become a buddha! Now is simply now.

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

Zen Master Kusan Sunim


Meditation posture

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”

Just Dharma Quotes

The purpose of studying buddhism

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The purpose of studying Buddhism is not to study Buddhism but to study ourselves. It is impossible to study ourselves without some teaching… We need some teaching, but just by studying the teaching alone, it is impossible to know what ‘I’ in myself am. Through the teaching we may understand our human nature. But the teaching is not we ourselves; it is some explanation of ourselves. So if you are attached to the teaching, or to the teacher, you should leave the teacher, and you should be independent. You need a teacher so that you can become independent. If you are not attached to him[her], the teacher will show you the way to yourself.– Shunryu Suzuki

from the book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”


Practicing with Strong Emotions

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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”

Just Dharma Quotes


Opening up our small mind

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”

Gems of Wisdom – Zen Tradition

Becoming unstuck

We hear a lot about the pain of samsara, and we also hear about liberation. But we don’t hear much about how painful it is to go from being completely stuck to becoming unstuck. The process of becoming unstuck requires tremendous bravery, because basically we are completely changing our way of perceiving reality, like changing our DNA. We are undoing a pattern that is not just our pattern. It’s the human pattern.

– Pema Chödron

from the book “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times”

With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes


The “you” who is chasing enlightenment will never become enlightened

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It is easy to imagine that

the Buddha, the awakened one, is something

or somewhere other than here or
that awakening to reality will happen
some time other than now.But as long as we continue to think in terms of time
we will deceive ourselves.The “you” who is chasing enlightenment
will never become enlightened.

Instead of striving towards some distant goal that
you will never reach, I invite you to stop and ask:

How am I avoiding the enlightenment
that is already present in each moment?

How am I seeing separation where it doesn’t exist?

~ Adyashanti


Guidance; Corona #26 ~ by Shodo Harada Roshi

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Dear All,

Some say that there may be a vaccine next year and that only in the spring of 2022 the pandemic will have settled. If the restrictions are taken off too soon, there may be new cases appearing. Some people who are infected may have no symptoms while they could infect others. We do need to reflect upon our wisdom, if we were to get sick, how we can deal with this situation in the best possible way.

What this means for us in our training is that we do need to have patience. It is not about yesterday and today only, but we need to continue our efforts. We need to see how we actually can live within challenging situations. We receive the wisdom of Vimalakirti.

Vimalakirti says, “because society is sick, that is why I get sick. We need to have a huge mind and not only see our own life.” Vimalakirti taught us how we can greet and support someone who is sick. Now how about if we ourselves get sick? This is what Vimalakirti is teaching us now.

Monjusri visits Vimalakirti, yet both encounter each other with a bright mind, that it is hard to know, who is the sick person. When we get sick, we easily get depressed, we cannot go outside and depend on others’ support. We feel this as a heavy burden. Yet Vimalakirti does not even look as if he is sick. His state of mind is bright and clear, and the person visiting him does not feel any pressure put on him.

Monjusri asks him: “You are sick yet you do not look sick. How are you managing?” Vimalakirti answers: “If sickness catches us and we fall into sickness, that becomes a heavyweight for us. Of course, I am actually sick. I have symptoms of sickness. Yet what truly makes us sick in mind are those attachments, memories, grudges which we carry around from the past. And because of these arising, that is why we feel the pressure. It is because of those past unclarities, that we feel heaviness.”

These are not extraneous thoughts, yet they do colour our experience of the moment. We cannot get stopped by them. Our physical body which we have received from our parents may get sick, and since we identify with this body, that is why we create our own heaviness. We, of course, may get sick, yet it is not our body alone that feels the sickness, it is mainly our mind that feels the sickness.

Ikkyu Zenji said in his death poem:
“The body that I have borrowed, today I do return it.”

Because we only see the physical body, we are not aware of the huge mind, which uses this body. Of course, we do not want to get sick, yet going through the experience of sickness, we need to bring forth wisdom which helps us rise above this physical experience. We cannot stay stuck in our body only, this would be a big mistake.
It is important that we do not feel stuck in our sick body, or else we create an even greater sickness than our physical one. This is what we need to awaken to. We may feel bad, have pain, have difficulty breathing, have no appetite, or sense of smell, yet we cannot let our mind get drowned within this experience.
Over 100 years ago in Japan, the poet Masaoka Shiki lived, he practiced zazen from a young age. He said that Zen was about being prepared to die anytime, yet later in his life, he said that he realized when he was sick, when he did not know how long he had to live, he said that Zen is not about being prepared to die anytime but Zen is about receiving this life energy anew each moment, receiving the energy to live.

There is a flower that blossoms in June in yellow colours, this flower must have been all around, in this season he was ready to face his last moment of being sick with tuberculosis. The pain must have been huge, while the students gathered around only wished to give their teacher some relief. In this uncertain situation, he gave the first two lines of the poem, then again was struggling to get some air, the students had tears running down their cheeks. They wanted to take the pain onto themselves. They quietly sat by his bedside, waiting, when Masaoka Shiki gave the last line of the poem: Is this the Buddha? Masaoka clearly looked at his own sickness, and when the end neared he called his students and gave this poem: The Hejima flower is blooming, mucus is filling up my throat, is this the Buddha?

Someone who has died is said to become a buddha yet also someone who is awakened is called a buddha. Masaoka gave this poem, his breathing must have been difficult, when this mucus fills his throat, that is the last moment. He speaks about himself as if he is watching himself from high above. It is about himself, yet his state of mind is quiet and filled with wisdom.

That is what Vimalakirti is saying, that we cannot stay stuck in our body, that we cannot drown in our suffering, if we down then we are at the end. That is not how it should be. From a high level, we can reflect upon our state of mind, we can review our state of mind. It is the mind that uses this body, the mind is not stuck in this body. It does need to depart from this body at one point, yet we can awaken to our true nature and share this experience with many.

I may be suffering but there are others who suffer even more. If there is a chance, I would like to use my life to help others, to support others. That is what we need to see as important in our life, Vimalakirti is teaching us.
(calligraphy by Shodo Harada Roshi: The Mysterious Not Two)

Hidden Valley Zen Center, Yuukoku-ji to American Zen

If everyone practiced the Dhamma, nothing could be done in the world, and there’d be no progress?

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Some people come and ask me whether a person who’s come to realize impermanence, suffering and non-self would want to give up doing things altogether and become lazy. I tell them that’s not so. On the contrary, one becomes more diligent, but does things without attachment, performing only actions that are beneficial.

And then they say, “If everyone practiced the Dhamma, nothing could be done in the world, and there’d be no progress. If everyone became enlightened, nobody would have children, and humanity would become extinct.” But this is like an earthworm worrying that it would run out of dirt, isn’t it?

~ Ajahn Chah


Adjusting the intensity of your practice day by day

Throughout your Dharma practice, you must never push yourself, but on the contrary, you should try to be at ease and to do only what is possible at the moment. If you push yourself beyond your capacity you may shock your entire nervous system, thus producing an extremely negative reaction; you may even give up trying to deal with your delusions altogether.

Even though we are adults we have the minds of children. A child’s mind requires especially tender care; we need great skill and patience to deal with it. It cannot endure being squeezed, or pushed beyond its limits. Yet many spiritual seekers are perfectionists whose egos impel them to try and advance too quickly. They are severe and ruthless toward themselves and end up in a state of tension. They become frustrated and angry with themselves and everyone around them. Of course, it is good to strive for perfection, but we must be practical. It is best to go by degrees, step by step. Otherwise, you are likely to jump in too quickly and break your leg. To succeed in your Dharma practice it is best to be at ease, relaxed and down-to-earth, to adjust the intensity of your practice day by day according to your situation.

– Lama Yeshe

source: https://bit.ly/3cwrg2O

With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes


Restrictions and practice

Image may contain: one or more people, possible text that says '"When the restrictions you have do not limit you, this is what we mean by practice." Shunryu Suzuki Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind'

San Francisco Zen Center


ZAZEN 

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To sit through sesshin ( a period of intensive meditation) is to be in the middle of a refining fire. Eido Roshi said once, “This zendo is not a peaceful haven, but a furnace room for the combustion of our egoistic delusions.” A zendo is not a place for bliss and relaxation, but a furnace room for the combustion of our egoistic delusions. What tools do we need to use? Only one. We’ve all heard of it, yet we use it very seldom. It’s called attention.

Attention is the cutting, burning sword, and our practice is to use that sword as much as we can. None of us is very willing to use it; but when we do—even for a few minutes—some cutting and burning takes place. All practice aims to increase our ability to be attentive, not just in zazen but in every moment of our life. As we sit we grasp that our conceptual thought process is a fantasy; and the more we grasp this the more our ability to pay attention to reality increases. One of the great Chinese masters, Huang Po, said: “If you can only rid yourselves of conceptual thought, you will have accomplished everything. But if you students of the Way do not rid yourselves of conceptual thought in a flash, even though you strive for eon after eon, you will never accomplish “it”.” We rid ourselves of conceptual thought” when, by persistent observation, we recognize the unreality of our self-centered thoughts. Then we can remain dispassionate and fundamentally unaffected by them. That does not mean to be a cold person. Rather, it means not to be caught and dragged around by circumstances.

Beck, Charlotte J.. Everyday Zen


Teachers are pointers

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Teachers are pointers,

Markers, signposts;

Nothing more.

If one attaches oneself to a signpost

One can never continue onward.

Hsin, Wu. The Magnificence of the Ordinary (The Lost Writings of Wu Hsin Book 2)

Living Zen


Just to live

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Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense. To make our effort, moment after moment, is our way.


– Shunryu Suzuki

from the book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”


Practice until you see yourself in the cruelest person on Earth

“Practice until you see yourself in the cruelest person on Earth, in the child starving, in the political prisoner. Continue until you recognize yourself in everyone in the supermarket, on the street corner, in a concentration camp, on a leaf, in a dewdrop. Meditate until you see yourself in a speck of dust in a distant galaxy. See and listen with the whole of your being. If you are fully present, the rain of Dharma will water the deepest seeds in your consciousness, and tomorrow, while you are washing the dishes or looking at the blue sky, that seed will spring forth, and love and understanding will appear as a beautiful flower.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

All without exception

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The Dharma which I teach is totally pure and makes no distinctions between race or caste, between rich or poor, between good and bad. It is like washing in pure water. The water washes all races and castes, rich and poor, good and bad, without distinction. It is like a fire which burns all substances without exception: mountains, rocks, sky and earth. My teaching is like the sky under which all find a place: men, women, boys, girls, rich and poor, all without exception.

– Buddha

Sutra of the Wise and Foolish


Little by little

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

from the book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”

With thanks to Gems of Wisdom – Zen Tradition


No overnight change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desire and attachment won’t change overnight, but desire becomes less ordinary as we redirect our worldly yearning toward the aspiration to become enlightened for the benefit of others. At the same time, we don’t abandon the ordinary objects of our desires – relationships, wealth, fame – but our attachment to them lessens as we contemplate their impermanence. Not rejecting them, rejoicing in our fortune when they arise, yet recognizing that they won’t last, we begin to build qualities of spiritual maturity. As our attachment slowly decreases, harmful actions that would normally result from attachment are reduced. We create less negative karma, more fortunate karma, and the mind’s positive qualities gradually increase.

– Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

from the book “Gates to Buddhist Practice: Essential Teachings of a Tibetan Master”

With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes


Practice until you see yourself in the cruelest person on Earth

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“Practice until you see yourself in the cruelest person on Earth, in the child starving, in the political prisoner. Continue until you recognize yourself in everyone in the supermarket, on the street corner, in a concentration camp, on a leaf, in a dewdrop. Meditate until you see yourself in a speck of dust in a distant galaxy. See and listen with the whole of your being.

If you are fully present, the rain of Dharma will water the deepest seeds in your consciousness, and tomorrow, while you are washing the dishes or looking at the blue sky, that seed will spring forth, and love and understanding will appear as a beautiful flower. “

~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~


Building inner strength

You build inner strength through embracing the totality of your experience, both the delightful parts and the difficult parts. Embracing the totality of your experience is one definition of having loving-kindness for yourself. Loving-kindness does not mean making sure you’re feeling good all the time – trying to set up your life so that you’re comfortable every moment. Rather, it means setting up your life so that you have time for meditation and self-reflection, for kindhearted, compassionate self-honesty. In this way, you become more attuned to seeing when you’re biting the hook, when you’re getting caught in the undertow of emotions, when you’re grasping and when you’re letting go. This is the way you become a true friend to yourself just as you are, with both your laziness and your bravery. There is no step more important than this.

– Pema Chödron

from the book “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change”

With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes