Wisdom Quotes

“The greatest sin is to be unconscious.”

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest–a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

“Problems cannot be solved on the same level of consciousness that created the problems.”

Sekkei Harada – Zen master

“In the course of our lifetime, there is one person we must meet… who is this person? It is the True Self. As long as you don’t, it will not be possible to be truly satisfied in the depths of your heart. You will never lose the sense that something is lacking. Nor will you be able to clarify the way things are. This is the objective of Life.”

Dainin Katagiri – Zen Master

“Real Knowing comes when we stand in the appropriate place. But usually we don’t. First we want to understand something according to individual knowledge, prejudice, customs and habits. This means we are standing up in our individual place, not the Universal perspective. This egoistic behavior makes it very difficult to see the overall picture. But Buddhas recommend that we first stand up in the appropriate place. Just stand up and be present in the Universe itself.”

“Silence is exactly the total manifestation of our whole personality. Whole personality means our individual personality is manifested with the whole universe. All other beings are the contents of our personality, so when we manifest our whole personality it is not just our individual personality, but simultaneously through this personality we can feel the whole universe. That is why we can feel magnanimity and compassion.”

“In whole-heartedness of presence, the Buddha is realized, the Dharma is lived and the Sangha is shared.”

Krishnamurti – from Think on These Things

“You are happy not because you possess something, but because your life has meaning in itself. But that meaning is discovered only when you are seeking out reality from moment to moment – and reality is everything… To find out how to approach life so that our daily living, our radios, cars and airplanes have a meaning in relationship to something else which includes and transcends them all – that is education… The mind with its cunning arguments is not everything. There is something vast and immeasurable beyond the mind, a loveliness which the mind cannot understand. In that immensity there is an ecstasy, a glory; and the living in that, the experiencing of that is the way of education. …Only the man who is free of belief can discover that which lies beyond all belief, that which is immeasurable.”

“The present moment is a condition where there is absolutely no separation between yourself and things… The condition we refer to as “Now” is one where there is no gap between yourself and other things. When you don’t have peace of mind, this means that you are in a condition in which you are constantly aware of the distance between yourself and other things.”

Charlotte Joko Beck

“Our practice is to die slowly; step-by-step, gradually disidentifying with whatever we’re caught in. If we’re caught anywhere, we have not died… As we identify ourselves with less and less, we can include more and more in our lives. And this is the vow of the Bodhisattva… All I can be is who I am right now; I can experience that and work with it. That’s all I can do. The rest is the dream of the ego.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

“If you do not know how to be patient, how to care, how to use loving speech, you cannot help other people to change. But if we have the energy of compassion and loving kindness in us, the people around us will be influenced by our way of being and living. Reproaching them, shouting at them, blaming them, can never help them. Only our love, our patience and our loving speech can help.”

“Peace and happiness are available in every moment…When you need to slow down and come back to yourself, you do not need to rush home to your meditation cushion or to a meditation center in order to practice conscious breathing. You can breathe anywhere.”

“The bewildered mind is weak because it is continually distracted. It’s distracted by the overriding need to maintain the comfort of “me.” It is meditating on discursiveness and self-absorption and that leads to suffering, because the bewildered mind can’t go beyond itself. When difficulty arises, it is unable to cope… What makes us happy and what makes us unhappy come down to volatile outer conditions, circumstances that are constantly changing… With an untrained mind, we live most days of our lives at the mercy of our moods… Most of the time we believe that the mind-set we have is who we are and we live our day from it, we meditate on it. We don’t question it… Instead of relaxing into the basic goodness that connects us with every other living being, we suffer the illness of separation, which is just a trick of the mind.”

Fenyang – 10th Century

“Few people believe their inherent mind is Buddha. Most will not take this seriously, and therefore are cramped. They are wrapped up in illusions, cravings, resentment and other afflictions, all because they love the cave of their ignorance.”

Yuansou – 16th Century

“The various teachings and techniques of buddhas and Zen masters are only set forth so that you will individually step back into yourself, understand your own original mind and see your own individual nature, so that you reach a state of great rest, peace and happiness.”

“Calmness of mind is beyond the end of your exhalation, so if you exhale smoothly, without trying to exhale, you are entering into the complete perfect calmness of your mind. Shikantaza, our zazen, is just to be ourselves. When we do not expect anything, we can be ourselves. That is our way, to live fully in each moment of time. This practice continues forever… We say, “Even in the snap of your fingers there are millions of instants of time.” This way we can emphasize the feeling of existing in each instant of time. Then your mind is very quiet.

So for a period of time each day, try to sit in shikantaza, without moving, without expecting anything, as if you were in your last moment. Moment after moment you feel your last instant. In each inhalation and each exhalation there are countless instants of time. Your intention is to live each instant….

Inhaling without effort you naturally come back to yourself with some color or form. Exhaling, you gradually fade into emptiness – empty white paper. This is shikantaza. The important point is your exhalation. Instead of trying to feel yourself as you inhale, fade into emptiness as you exhale.

When you practice this in your last moment, you will have nothing to be afraid of. You are actually aiming at emptiness. You become one with everything after you completely exhale with this feeling. If you are still alive, naturally you will inhale again…

To take care of the exhalation is very important. To die is more important than trying to be alive. When we always try to be alive, we have trouble. Rather than trying to be alive or active, if we can be calm and die, or fade away into emptiness, then naturally we will be all right… So we have enjoyment, we are free. We feel free to express ourselves because we are ready to fade into emptiness. When we are trying to be active and special and to accomplish something, we cannot express ourselves. Small self will be expressed, but big self will not appear from the emptiness. From the emptiness only great self appears. That is shikantaza.”

“Who we are is the Universe peering into itself from billions of points of view.”

“In the words of the Zen master Gensha:

If you understand, things are such as they are;

If you do not understand, things are such as they are –

This “such as they are” being the utterly unproblematic and self-sufficient character of this eternal now… For in some way the vision seems to come about through accepting the rightness of the fact that one does not have it, through being willing to be as imperfect as one is – perfectly imperfect.”

“Your suffering is in your resistance to what is.”

“Pain is not suffering. Pain plus story is suffering.”

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