Since the time we were born from our mother’s womb, the only thing we have seen is the present. We have never seen the past and we have never seen the future. Wherever we are, whatever time it is, it is only the present.
The present does not remain beyond a single instant [snaps fingers]. That is why the three times are the same. You must remember that the three times are equal.
– Khenpo Tsultrim Rinpoche
“It has been said that the highest wisdom lies in detachment, or, in the words of Chung-Tzu, ‘The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror; it grasps nothing; it refuses nothing; it receives, but does not keep.’
Detachment means to have neither regrets for the past nor fears for the future; to let life take its course without attempting to interfere with its movement and change, neither trying to prolong the stay of something pleasant nor to hasten the departure of things unpleasant. To do this is to move in time with life, to be in perfect accord with its changing music, and this is called Enlightenment.
In short, it is to be detached from both the past and future and to live in the eternal Now. For in truth neither past nor future have any existence apart from this Now; by themselves they are illusions. Life exists only at this very moment…
You may believe yourself out of harmony with life and its eternal Now; but you cannot be, for you are life and exist Now—otherwise you would not be here. Hence the infinite Tao is something which you can neither escape by flight nor catch by pursuit; there is no coming toward it or going away from it; it is, and you are it. So become what you are.”
The path of meditation and the path of our lives altogether has to do with curiosity, inquisitiveness. The ground is ourselves; we’re here to study ourselves and to get to know ourselves now, not later. People often say to me, “I wanted to come and have an interview with you, I wanted to write you a letter, I wanted to call you on the phone, but I wanted to wait until I was more together.” And I think, “Well, if you’re anything like me, you could wait forever!” So come as you are. The magic is being willing to open to that, being willing to be fully awake to that. One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are. That’s not considered to be a problem; the point is to see it.
– Pema Chödron
from the book “Awakening Loving-Kindness”
We’re always in some kind of mood. It might be sadness, it might be anger, it might be not much of anything, just a kind of blur. It might be humor or contentment. In any case, whatever it is, that’s the path.
When something hurts in life, we don’t usually think of it as our path or as the source of wisdom. In fact, we think that the reason we’re on the path is to get rid of this painful feeling. In this way, we naively cultivate a subtle aggression against ourselves. However, the fact is that anyone who has used the moments, days, and years of his or her life to become wiser, kinder, and more at home in the world has learned from what’s happening right now. We can aspire to be kind right in the moment, to relax and open our heart and mind to what is in front of us right in the moment. Now is the time. If there’s any possibility for enlightenment, it’s right now, not at some future time.
– Pema Chödron
from the book “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times”
Mel Van Dusen presents the talks of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.