Quotations appearing on our Home Page
"If you want to find the source of any problem, look to Lucre and Lust."
"The death that meditation brings about is the
immortality of the new. This is something more marvelous if you come upon it.
I can go into it, but the description is not the described. It's for you to
learn all this by looking at yourself-no book, no teacher can teach you about
"If you are thinking of anything with dependence upon it,
there is a motive of curiosity, or pleasure, or success, and though the
thinking will help towards satisfaction you will still be in bondage. There is
no harm in this, but the higher samadhi, without such motives, is best."
"The sage, though living among limitations, is unaffected
by their qualities, like space."
"The real man is
held to be a pure looker-on, entirely unaffected. It is only on that account
that he can see truly. Any other sort of seeing would affect the thing seen.
Then the seeing of it, so affected, would be wrong."
"You are here for no other purpose than to realize your
inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment."
"If you want to attain your true nature, you must have
Great Faith, Great Courage, and Great Question."
"All methods, in the search for truth, should be
looked on as a means, rather than as ends in themselves or as absolute truth."
"Prayer is you talking to God; meditation is you
listening to God."
"The Dark thought, the shame, the
malice - meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from
"The Road has two rules only: begin
"Save me, O God, from those who think that I am
something of value."
"Using intellectual understanding to find your
true nature is like expecting a hungry man to satisfy his gnawing hunger with
a picture of a banana. Zen teaching is not like this. Zen teaching says, "Open
your mouth. Here's a banana. Now eat!"
"We do not fundamentally want to have and to do;
we only want to be, and we use the having and doing for that purpose. Further,
our will to be is not content with anything; it seeks its goal beyond the
irksome limits of having and doing. Man will not be really happy until he is
consciously one with God, and shares the freedom of that one Reality."
"Knowing is not thinking. Knowing begins when thinking
ceases, having finished its work. Every new knowing is a joy, for it is a new
experience of unity."
"It becomes necessary to realize that the body is not
conscious, but we are conscious of the body, also that the mind is not
conscious but we are conscious of the mind."
"All things are the same at their core
but clinging to one and discarding another
Is living in illusion.
A mind is not a fit judge of itself.
It is prejudiced in its own favor or disfavor.
It cannot see anything objectively."
"Just as one need not seek outside
oneself for the light, so one need not seek outside one's own small personal
existence for the greater, unlimited, opportunity. With this realization comes
the final death of greed, of hating, of fanaticism, of self-satisfaction, and
"Argument implies a desire to win,
strengthens egotism, and ties us
to the belief in the idea of
'a self, a being, a living being, and a person'.."
"You know my coins are counterfeit,
but you accept them anyway,
my impudence and my pretending!"
"We are reminded that even this highest samadhi is not the
attainment itself, but only that last and highest act of the mind in which it
is poised in its highest flight, in which it knows its own inadequacy, and
surrenders. We are reminded that we are seeing the dawnlight and not the full
sun, but oh what a marvel that dawnlight is, arising over a dark world and
illuminating every part of it."
"Blessing is not found in anything weighed, measured, or
counted, but only in that which is hidden from the eye."
"The cordial quality of pear or plum
"Our modern scientists now know that the age of natural
selection is gone, and men must look to themselves, not their material
environment, for the direction and impulse needed for their future progress."
"I, Buddh, who wept with all my brothers' tears
"He whose happiness is within, whose delight is within, and
likewise whose light even is within - that yogi, being of the nature of
Brahman, goes up into the nirvana of Brahman.
"The man who lives without
longing, having cast off desires, without possessiveness, without egotism - he
attains peace. This is the Brahmic state. Having obtained this, one is not
confused. Being established in this at the end of (one's) time, one reaches
even the nirvana of Brahman."
"Substances at base divided
"He excels who has sameness of appreciation (or valuation)
towards well-wishers, friends, enemies, strangers, neutrals, haters, and
kinsmen, and even saints and sinners."
"There is only one thing for which God has sent me
into the world, and that is to develop every kind of virtue or strength, and
there is nothing in all the world that I cannot use for this purpose."
"Know that when you learn to lose yourself, you will reach
the Beloved. There is no other secret to be learnt, and more than this is not
known to me."
"Put a fish on land and he will remember the ocean
until he dies. Put a bird in a cage, yet he will not forget the sky. Each
remains homesick for his true home, the place where his nature has decreed
that he should be. Man is born in the state of innocence. His original nature is love and
grace and purity. Yet he emigrates so casually, without even a thought of his
"External reality appears as such to the mind
which has been distorted by psychic sediment.
Apart from the mind, no external reality exists. To perceive it so would be an
"Strengthening the mind is not done by
making it move around as is done to strengthen the body, but by bringing the
mind to a halt, bringing it to rest."
"Of course there are dozens of
meditation techniques but it all comes down to this - just let it all be. Step
over here where it's cool, out of the battle. Why not give it a try?"
"Remember, you don't meditate to "get"
anything but to get "rid" of things. We do it, not with desire, but with
letting go. If you "want" anything, you won't find it."
"The smile on your face is sight
The sound of your name is song enough.
Why cut me down with your deadly arrows,
When the shadow of your whip is reason enough?"
"From beginningless time
the mind has never had any real existence.
"If you want what visible reality can give, you're an
If you want the unseen world, you're not living your truth.
Both wishes are foolish, but you'll be forgiven for forgetting that what you
really want is love's confusing joy."
"Keep walking, though there's no
place to get to. Don't try to see through the distances. That's not for human
Move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move.
Walk to the well.
Turn as the earth and the moon turn, circling what they love.
Whatever circles comes from the center."
"There is no difficulty about the
Only we must avoid the making of discriminations.
When we are freed from hate and love, it will reveal itself as clearly as
"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the
moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art
mindful of him?"
"Striving to leave the wilderness you become
part of what's wild.
Striving to cease grasping is, itself, grasping.
So how do you gain control and get beyond desire?
Open those eyes... the ones that were born in your own skull."
"Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing
wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is
drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."
"To a frog that's never left
his pond, the ocean seems like a gamble. Look what he's giving up: security,
mastery of his world, recognition! The ocean frog just shakes his head. 'I
can't really explain what it's like where I live, but someday I'll take you
"In this world the hearer listens only
to the speaker who deals with facts the knowledge of which is necessary and
desired. No one pays attention to those who expound doctrines that no one
wants, as is the case with madmen or with ordinary men who are good at their
practical affairs but ignorant of the sciences and the arts."
"It dives in shallows for beakfuls of moss,
heads to sandy isles to preen its feathers.
It was ready to fly off all by itself,
then found its reflection and lingered."
"Great knowing is slow and capacious,
small knowing is sly and capricious.
Great words blaze with distinction,
small words amaze making distinctions."
"Do what fits perfectly as lips,
Forsake all glib confusion,
view those held in honor as slaves.
The throngs of men toil and toil,
The Sage is a simpleton,
He shares thousands of years that make one spring.
All the things of the world are thus,
And by this he garners them."
"I am He whom I love, and He
whom I love is I,
We are two spirits dwelling in one body.
If thou seest me, thou seest Him,
And if thou seest Him, thou seest us both."
"A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares,
They keep turning."
"This moment this love comes to
rest in me,
many beings in one being.
In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks.
Inside the needle's eye a turning night of stars."
"Keep walking, though there's no
place to get to.
Don't try to see through the distances.
That's not for human beings. Move within,
but don't move the way fear makes you move."
"Walk to the well.
Turn as the earth and the moon turn,
circling what they love.
Whatever circles comes from the center."
"As rain falls on the just and the
unjust alike, let your heart be untroubled by judgments and let your kindness
rain on all."
"... this material dimension is just
samsara. See it and you see samsara for what it's worth. But what does it
mean? Nothing but shifting names and changing forms. But when the ego drops
away (is extinguished) you experience this Flux... and it is beautiful not
just because it is dazzling, but because the act of seeing it as it is
necessitates the ego's oblivion. The Veil (of ego) is lifted and you see
"When I open my eyes to the outer world, I feel myself as a
drop in the sea; but when I close my eyes and look within, I see the whole
universe as a bubble raised in the ocean of my heart."
"God's ego is the smallest of
"But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his
law he meditates day and night."
"My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire
burned; then I spoke with my tongue."
"Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant
will meditate on your decrees."
"Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long."
"As one with eyes who carries a lamp sees all objects, so
too with one who has heard the Moral Law will become perfectly wise."
"Hatreds do not ever cease in this world
by hating, but by love; this is an eternal truth.... Overcome anger by love,
overcome evil by good. Overcome the miser by giving, overcome the liar by
"Love your enemies, do good to those
who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. From
anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to
everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask
for them again."
"Whatever the style, a surface appearance is only the
outside substance of appearance. Whatever the determination, a plan to perform
any Dharma method is only the inside substance of a scheme.
"Only the person who gets rid of within and without escapes from birth and
death and ascends to eternity."
"The cordial quality of pear or plum
Rises as gladly in the single tree
As in the whole orchards resonant with bees."
"Human unhappiness results from man's acceptance of a state of
servitude to the low condition of his own mind."
"When there is annoyance by bad thoughts, let there be
reflection against them. This reflection to the contrary is: 'The bad thought
of injury, untruth, theft, incontinence, or greed, whether done, caused to be
done, or approved, whether preceded by greed, anger, or infatuation, whether
mild, medium, or strong, results in endless pain and error.'"
"If you want to see, see right at once. When you begin to
think, you miss the point."
"Desire can trap us like a bird who sees food in a trap. He
knows that he will be caught, but his desire causes him to close his eyes and
act as if the trap does not exist."
"The more true wisdom a person has, the greater will be his
"Without love, nothing has any value. You can
experience all kinds of inner states and have all kinds of psychic abilities,
but if you don't know how to love, they amount to nothing."
"If the red slayer
think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again."
"Thou in thy narrow banks art pent;
The stream I love unbounded goes
Through flood and sea and firmament;
Through light, through life, it forward flows."
"Reading the history of the emperors and dynasties in
quietude, one feels nothing profound about the changes and caprices of the
past; only when one experiences various challenges and difficulties in life
does one gain a thorough understanding of the impermanence of worldly
"No knowledge about mere things makes anyone wise; it
is only the knowledge of the value of things to some living being, or the
proper use of things by and for living beings that constitutes wisdom. Wisdom
comes in when there is heart as well as mind; when there is sensitiveness to
the life-side, and concern as to how the life will be affected."
"Anger will not be removed by our being angry with it,
but by our understanding it; yet the intention of our understanding it is not
to remove it, but to observe what is really happening in the mind, whereupon
the troublous emotion slinks away."
"Enter the Path! There spring the healing streams
"Harmony is the inlet of God into the mind, so that the
mind acts in obedience to a law above mind - and that law is unity."
"Unity is the Nature of God, and harmony is its
expression in mind and in the works of the mind."
"When the self wins its independence from its own madness
or foolishness - for nothing else operates it - all will become clear, and
time and space, which are products of action and thought, and are part of the
dream, will disappear."
"Step by step, lifts bad to good,
Without halting, without rest,
Lifting Better up to Best;
Planting seeds of knowledge pure,
Through earth to ripen, through heaven endure."
"For he that feeds men serveth few;
He serves all who dares be true."
"If you want to find the source of any problem, look to
Lucre and Lust."
"Nothing in the world is good or bad, but thinking
makes it so."
"When you begin to recognize that suffering is
grace you cannot believe it. You think you are cheating."
"It takes great courage to abandon ones self, to give up "I"
and "mine": but death happens only once, and what dies is really nothing at
"Zen is cultivation of the Self; but if the wrong methods
are used, we end up mired in strife, cultivating that fictitious ego!"
"The moment you know how your suffering came to be, you are
already on the path of release from it."
"What nature leaves imperfect, the art perfects."
"A man who has not passed through the
inferno of his passions has never overcome them. They then dwell in the house
next door, and at any moment a flame may dart out and set fire to his own
house. Whenever we give up, leave behind, and forget too much, there is always
the danger that the things we have neglected will return with added force."
"What happens within oneself when one integrates previously
unconscious contents with the consciousness is something which can scarcely be
described in words. It can only be experienced. It is a subjective affair
quite beyond discussion."
"When one follows the path of individuation, when one lives
one's own life, one must take mistakes into the bargain; life would not be
complete without them. There is no guarantee-not for a single moment-that we
will not fall into error or stumble into deadly peril. We may think there is a
sure road. But that would be the road of death."
"I have realized that one must accept the thoughts that go
on within oneself of their own accord as part of one's reality. The categories
of true and false are, of course, always present; but because they are not
binding they take second place. The presence of thoughts is more important
than our subjective judgment of them. But neither must these judgments be
suppressed, for they also are existent thoughts which are part of our
"Since the unconscious, as the result of its spatio-temporal
relativity, possesses better sources of information than the conscious
mind-which has only sense perceptions available to it-we are dependent for
our myth of life after death upon the meager hints of dreams and similar
spontaneous revelations from the unconscious."
"Cut off the intermediary world of mythic imagination, and
the mind falls prey to doctrinaire rigidities."
"Western man seems predominantly extraverted, Eastern man
predominantly introverted. The former projects the meaning and considers that
it exists in objects; the latter feels the meaning in himself. But the meaning
is both without and within."
"A belief proves to me only the phenomenon of belief, not
the content of the belief."
"Attainment of consciousness is culture in the broadest
sense, and self-knowledge is therefore the heart and essence of this process.
The Oriental attributes unquestionably divine significance to the self, and
according to the ancient Christian view self-knowledge is the road to
knowledge of God."
"The decisive question for man is: Is he related to
something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life. Only if
we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing
our interest upon futilities, and upon all kinds of goals which are not of
"The more a man lays stress on false posessions, and the
less sensitivity he has for what is essential, the less satisfying is his
life. He feels limited because he has limited aims, and the result is envy and
"If we understand and feel that here in this life we already
have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change. In the final
analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and
if we do not embody that, life is wasted. In our relationships to other men,
too, the crucial question is whether an element of boundlessness is expressed
in the relationship."
"The feeling for the infinite can be attained only if we are
bounded to the utmost. The greatest limitation for man is the 'self'; it is
manifested in the experience: 'I am only that!' Only consciousness of our
narrow confinement in the self forms the link to the limitlessness of the
unconscious. In such awareness we experience ourselves concurrently as limited
and eternal, as both the one and the other. In knowing ourselves to be unique
in our personal combination - that is, ultimately limited - we possess also
the capacity for becoming conscious of the infinite. But only then!"
"In an era which has concentrated exclusively upon extension
of living space and increase of rational knowledge at all costs, it is a
supreme challenge to ask man to become conscious of his uniqueness and his
limitation. Uniqueness and limitation are synonymous. Without them, no
perception of the unlimited is possible - and, consequently, no coming to
"We stand in need of a reorientation, a metanoia. Touching
evil brings with it the grave peril of succumbing to it. We must, therefore,
no longer succumb to anything at all, not even to good. A so-called good to
which we succumb loses its ethical character. Not that there is anything bad
in it on that score, but to have succumbed to it may breed trouble. Every form
of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or
"We must beware of thinking of good and evil as absolute
opposites. The criterion of ethical action can no longer consist in the simple
view that good has the force of a categorical imperative, while so-called evil
can resolutely be shunned. Recognition of the reality of evil necessarily
relativizes the good, and the evil likewise, converting both into halves of a
"Good and evil are no longer so self-evident. We have to
realize that each represents a judgement. In view of the fallibility of all
human judgement, we cannot believe that we will always judge rightly. We might
so easily be the victims of misjudgement."
"The individual who wishes to have an answer to the problem
of evil, as it is posed today, has need, first and foremost, of
self-knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness.
He must know relentlessly how much good he can do, and what crimes he is
capable of, and must beware of regarding the one as real and the other as
illusion. Both are elements within his nature, and both are bound to come to
light in him, should he wish - as he ought - to live without self-deception
"By virtue of his reflective faculties, man is raised out of
the animal world, and by his mind he demonstrates that nature has put a high
premium precisely upon the development of consciousness. Through consciousness
he takes possession of nature by recognizing the existence of the world and
thus, as it were, confirming the Creator."
"The need for mythic statements is satisfied when we frame a
view of the world which adequately explains the meaning of human existence in
the cosmos, a view which springs from our psychic wholeness, from the
co-operation between conscious and unconscious. Meaninglessness inhibits
fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great
many things endurable - perhaps everything."
"Everything is flux."
"All are clear, I alone am clouded."
"Individuation means becoming a single, homogeneous being,
and, in so far as 'individuality' embraces our innermost, last, and
incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one's own self. We could
therefore translate individuation as 'coming to selfhood' or
"Be righteous and be not wicked; and even if the whole world
tells you that you are righteous, regard yourself as if you were wicked."
"It is not the number of books you read, nor the variety of
sermons you hear, nor the amount of religious conversation in which you mix.
But it is the frequency and earnestness with which you mediatate on these
things till the truth in them becomes your own and part of your being, that
ensures your growth."
"Reading and conversation may furnish us with many
ideas of men and things, yet it is our own meditation that must form our
"Meditation is that exercise of the mind by which it recalls a
known truth, as some kind of creatures do their food, to be ruminated upon
till all the valuable parts be extracted."
"Meditation is the soul's perspective glass, whereby, in
her long removes, she discerneth God, as if he were nearer at hand."
"In all the vast and the minute, we see the unambiguous
footsteps of the God, who gives its luster to the insect's wing and wheels his
throne upon the rolling worlds."
"Nature is too thin a screen; the glory of the omnipresent God
bursts through everwhere."
"The very word "God" suggests care, kindness, goodness; and
the idea of God in his infinity, is infinite care, infinite kindness, infinite
goodness. - We give God the name of good: it is only by shortening it that it
"How often we look upon God as our last and feeblest
resource! We go to him because we have nowhere else to go. And then we learn
that the storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks, but into the
"An old mystic says somewhere, 'God is an unutterable
sigh in the innermost depths of the soul.' With still greater justice, we may
reverse the proposition, and say the soul is a never ending sigh after God."
"God should be the object of all our desires, the end of
all our actions, the principle of all our affections, and the governing power
of our whole souls."
"What is there in man so worthy of honor and reverence as
this, that he is capable of contemplating something highter than his own
reason, more sublime than the whole universe-that Spirit which alone is
self-subsistent, from which all truth proceeds, without which is no truth?"
"Religion cannot pass away. The burning of a little straw may
hide the stars of the sky, but the stars are there, and will reappear."
"True religion extends alike to the intellect and the heart.
Intellect is in vain if it lead not to emotion, and emotion is vain if not
enlightened by intellect; and both are vain if not guided by truth and leading
"Let your religion be seen. Lamps do not talk, but they
do shine. A light-house sounds no drum, it beats no gong; yet, far over the
waters, its friendly light is seen by the mariner."
"There is only one religion, though there are a hundred
versions of it."
"Of all acts of man, repentance is the most divine. - The
greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none."
"True repentance consists in the heart being broken for sin
and broken from sin. Some often repent, yet never reform; they resemble a man
travelling in a dangerous path, who frequently starts and stops, but never
"Mere sorrow, which weeps and sits still, is not repentance.
- Repentance is sorrow converted into action; into a movement toward a new
and better life."
"Right actions for the future are the best apologies for
wrong ones in the past - the best evidence of regret for them that we can
offer, or the world receive."
"The casting down of our spirits in true humility is but
like throwing a ball to the ground, which makes it rebound the higher toward
"The doctrines of grace humble man without degrading, and
exalt without inflating him."
"Be wise; soar not to high to fall, but stoop to rise."
"Humility is the root, mother, nurse, foundation, and bond
of all virtue."
"It is the witness still of excellence to put a strange
face on its own perfection."
"There is but one road to lead us to God-humility; all
other ways would only lead astray, even were they fenced in with all virtues."
"It is from out of the depths of our humility that the height
of our destiny looks grandest. Let me truly feel that in myself I am nothing,
and at once, through every inlet of my soul, God comes in, and is everything
"It is no great thing to be humble when you are brought
low; but to be humble when you are praised is a great and rare attainment."
"Trees that, like the poplar, lift upward all their
boughs, give no shade and no shelter whatever their height. Trees the most
lovingly shelter and shade us when, like the willow, the higher soar their
summits, the lowlier droop their boughs."
"God walks with the humble; he reveals himself to the lowly; he
gives understanding to the little ones; he discloses his meaning to pure
minds, but hides his grace from the curious and the proud."
"Humility is the truest abstinence in the world. It is
abstinence from self-love and self-conceit, from vaunting our own praise and
exploits, from ambition of our nature, and consequently is the noblest
"We know God easily if we do not constrain ouselves to define
"The growth of grace is like the polishing of metals. There is
first an opaque surface; by and by you see a spark darting out, then a strong
light; till at length it sends back a perfect image of the sun that shines
"Grace comes into the soul, as the morning sun into the world;
first a dawning; then a light; and at last the sun in his full and excellent
"If you want to find the source of any problem, look to Lucre
"Let us unite contemplation with action. -In the
harmony of the two, lies the perfection of character. -They are not
contradictory and incompatible, but mutually helpful to each other."
"Be still prepared for death; and death or life shall thereby be
"To neglect, at any time, preparation for death, is to
sleep on our post at a siege; to omit it in old age, is to sleep at an
"Let death be daily before your eyes, and you will never
entertain any abject thought, nor too eagerly covet anything."
"There is no death! What seems so is transition; this life
of mortal breath is but a suburb of the life elysian, whose portal we call
"This outer world is but the pictured scroll of worlds within
the soul; a colored chart, a blazoned missal-book, wherein who rightly look
may spell the splendors with their mortal eyes, and steer to Paradise."
"If this life be not a real fight, in which something is
eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of
private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will."
"The very commonplaces of life are components of its
"Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time
like dew on the tip of a leaf."
"Life is like music, it must be composed by ear,
feeling and instinct, not by rule. Nevertheless one had better know the rules,
for they sometimes guide in doubtful cases though not often."
"Life is a long lesson in humility."
"The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and
ill together; our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and
our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues."
"Life is hardly respectable if it has no generous task, no
duties or affections that constitute a neceessity of existence. Every man's
task is his life-preserver."
"Life is a series of surprises. We do not guess to-day the
mood, the pleasure, the power of to-morrow, when we are building up our
"Life, like the waters of the seas, freshens only when it
ascends toward heaven."
"You are born with wings. Why prefer to crawl
"Life is thick sown with thorns, and I know no other
remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our
misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us."
"To complain that life has no joys while there is a single
creature whom we can relieve by our bounty, assist by our counsels, or enliven
by our presence, is to lament the loss of that which we possess, and is just
as rational as to die of thirst with the cup in our hands."
"There are two lives to each of us, the life of our
actions, and the life of our minds and hearts."
"History reveals men's deeds
and their outward characters, but not themselves."
"There is a secret self
that has its own life, unpenetrated and unguessed."
"The meaning, the value, the truth of life can be learned only
by an actual performance of its duties, and truth can be learned and the soul
saved in no other way."
"There is nothing which must end, to be valued for its
continuance. If hours, days, months, and years pass away, it is no matter what
hour, day, month, or year we die. The applause of a good actor is due to him
at whatever scene of the play he makes his exit."
"The truest end of life is to know the life that never ends."
"Life's evening will take its character from the day that
"Live as if you expected to live an hundred years, but
might die to-morrow."
"Light is the shadow of God."
"Why did Bodhidharma come from the west? Everything's a
beginning for something else."
"The mind is never right but when it is at peace within
itself; the soul is in heaven even while it is in the flesh, if it be purged
of its natural corruptions, and taken up with divine thoughts and
"Everything here, but the soul of man, is a passing shadow.
-The only enduring substance is within. -When shall we awake to the sublime
greatness, the perils, the accountableness, and the glorious destinies of the
"The old thoughts never die; immortal dreams outlive their
dreamers and are ours for aye; no thought once formed and uttered ever can
"A person who is alone can't hold a conversation. A drum has to
be hollow for its sound to reverberate. Absences count. Words limit.
Interpretations differ. What isn't said is also relevant. Absolute Truth
cannot be expressed in words. It must be experienced.
"And then, in eloquent silence we best reveal that we have awakened to the
"Oh, for this one rare occurrence
"When one looks at it one cannot see it. When one listens to
it, one cannot hear it. But when one uses it, it is inexhaustible."
"I find myself walking toward my destination, away
"The science and knowledge of all things consists in
learning of the true harmony and consonance of nature with the macrocosm and
microcosm of the world and man, since all things originate in one and all
things in turn flow and return to one."
"On this road man cannot succeed by his own
strength, but perhaps he will succeed if in some way the guide and leader
within him is awakened, who will lead him to his goal."
"Only a fool is interested in other people's guilt,
since he cannot alter it. The wise man learns only from his own guilt. He will
ask himself: Who am I that all this should happen to me? To find the answer to
this fateful question he will look into his own heart."
"Salvation does not come from refusing to take part or
from running away. Nor does it come from just drifting. Salvation comes from
complete surrender, with one's eyes always turned to the center."
perfectissimum opus est generare tale quale ipsum est. ("The most natural and
perfect work is to generate what is like to itself.")
A visiting Zen student asked Ajahn Chah,
"How old are you? Do you live here all year round?" "I live nowhere," he
replied. "There is no place you can find me. I have no age. To have age, you
must exist, and to think you exist is already a problem. Don't make problems;
then the world has none either. Don't make a self. There's nothing more to
"The 'One Who Knows' clearly knows that all conditioned
phenomena are unsubstantial. So this "One Who Knows" does not become happy or
sad, for it does not follow changing conditions. To become glad is to be born;
to become dejected is to die. Having died, we are born again; having been
born, we die again. This birth and death from one moment to the next is the
endless spinning whell of samsara."
"If your mind is happy, then you are happy anywhere you
go. When wisdom awakens within you, you will see Truth wherever you look.
Truth is all there is. It's like when you've learned how to read - you can
then read anywhere you go."
"Because people don't see themselves, they can commit
all sorts of bad deeds. They don't look at their own minds. When people are
going to do something bad, they have to look around first to see if anyone is
looking: 'Will my mother see me?' 'Will my husband see me?' 'Will the children
see me?' 'Will my wife see me?' If there's no one watching, then they go right
ahead and do it. This is insulting themselves. They say no one is watching, so
they quickly finish their bad deed before anyone will see. And what about
themselves? Aren't they a 'somebody' watching?"
"Strengthening the mind is not done by making it move
around as is done to strengthen the body, but by bringing the mind to a halt,
bringing it to rest."
"Where does rain come from? It comes from all the dirty
water that evaporates from the earth, like urine and the water you throw out
after washing your feet. Isn't it wonderful how the sky can take that dirty
water and change it into pure, clean water? Your mind can do the same with
your defilements if you let it."
"Any speech which ignores uncertainty is not the speech
of a sage."
"If you really see uncertainty clearly, you will see
that which is certain. The certainty is that things must inevitably be
uncertain and that they cannot be otherwise. Do you understand? Knowing just
this much, you can know the Buddha, you can rightly do reverence to him."
"Sometimes I'd go to see old religious sites with
ancient temples. In some places they would be cracked. Maybe one of my friends
would remark, 'Such a shame, isn't it? It's cracked.' I'd answer, 'If they
weren't cracked there'd be no such thing as the Buddha. There'd be no Dhamma.
It's cracked like this because it's perfectly in line with the Buddha's
"Some of you have come from thousands of miles away,
from Europe and America and other far-off places, to listen to the Dhamma here
at Nong Pah Pong Monastery. To think that you've come from so far and gone
through so much trouble to get here. Then we have these people who live just
outside the wall of the monastery but who have yet to enter through its gate.
It makes you appreciate good kamma more, doesn't it?"
"I went all over looking for places to meditate. I
didn't realize it was already there, in my heart. All the meditation is right
there inside you. Birth, old age, sickness, and death are right there within
you. I travelled all over until I was ready to drop dead from exhaustion. Only
then, when I stopped, did I find what I was looking for ... inside me."
"Whatever we do, we should see ourselves. Reading books
doesn't ever give rise to anything. The days pass by, but we don't see
ourselves. Knowing about practice is practicing in order to know."
"The basics in our practice should be first, to be
honest and upright; second, to be wary of wrongdoing; and third, to be humble
within one's heart, to be aloof and content with little. If we are content
with little in regards to speech and in all other things, we will see
ourselves, we won't be distracted. The mind will have a foundation of virtue,
concentration, and wisdom."
"Of course there are dozens of meditation techniques,
but it all comes down to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is
cool, out of the battle. Why not give it a try?"
"Regardless of time and place, the whole practice of
Dhamma comes to completion at the place where there is nothing. It's the place
of surrender, of emptiness, of laying down the burden. This is the finish."
"The Dhamma is not far away. It's right with us. The
Dhamma isn't about angels in the sky or anything like that. It's simply about
us, about what we are doing right now. Observe yourself. Sometimes there is
happiness, sometimes suffering, sometimes comfort, sometimes pain... this is
Dhamma. Do you see it? To know this Dhamma, you have to read your
"We don't become monks or nuns to eat well, sleep well,
and be very comfortable, but to know suffering: -how to accept it...-how to
get rid of it... -how not to cause it. So don't do that which causes
suffering, like indulging in greed, or it will never leave you."
"People have suffering in one place, so they go
somewhere else. When suffering arises there, they run off again. They think
they're running away from suffering, but they're not. Suffering goes with
them. They carry suffering around without knowing it. If we don't know
suffering then we can't know the cause of suffering. If we don't know the
cause of suffering then we can't know the cessation of suffering. There's no
way we can escape it."
"Some people get bored, fed up, tired of the practice
and lazy. They can't seem to keep the Dhamma in mind. Yet, if you go and scold
them, they'll never forget that. Some may remember it for the rest of their
lives and never forgive you for it. But when it comes to the Buddha's
teaching, telling us to practise conscientiously, why do they keep forgetting
these things? Why don't people take these things to heart?"
"Once you understand non-self, then the burden of life
is gone. You'll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no
longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy. Learn to let go without
struggle, simply let go, to be just as you are - no holding on, no attachment,
"All bodies are composed of the four elements of earth,
water, wind and fire. When they come together and form a body we say it's a
male, a female, give it names, and so on, so that we can identify each other
more easily. But actually there isn't anyone there - only earth, water, wind
and fire. Don't get excited over it or infatuated by it. If you really look
into it, you will not find anyone there."
"Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place
as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor
is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find
freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run
"If you let go a little, you will have a little peace.
If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely,
you will have complete peace."
"Anyone can build a house of wood and bricks, but the
Buddha taught us that sort of home is not our real home. It's a home in the
world and it follows the ways of the world. Our real home is inner peace."
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There's no need
to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be.
That's all that I do in my own practice."
"The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can
be judged by the way it's animals are treated."
"God does not die on the day when we cease to believe
in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be
illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a Wonder, the source of
which is beyond all reason."
"When your original reason for studying Zen is not
right, you wind up having labored without accomplishment. This is why ancients
used to urge people to study Zen as if they were on the brink of death."
"Why do you not understand your nature, when it is inherently
there? There is not much to Buddhism-it just requires getting to the
essential. We do not teach you to annihilate random thoughts, suppress body
and mind, shut your eyes, and say this is Zen. You should observe your present
state-what is the reason for it? Why do you become confused?"
"Search back into your own vision-think back to the mind that
thinks. Who is it?"
"I tell people to get to know themselves. Some people think
this means what beginners observe, and consider it easy to understand. Reflect
more carefully, in a more leisurely manner-what do you call your self?"
"You must know how to check yourself before you can attain Zen.
It is because of confused minds that people strive on the Way; they go to
mountains and forests to see teachers, on the false assumption that there is a
particular path that can give people peace and comfort. They do not know it is
best to work on finding out where they got confused."
"There is no greater mystery than the following: Ourselves
being the Reality, we seek to gain reality. We think there is something hiding
our Reality, and that it must be destoyed before the Reality is gained. That
is ridiculous. A day will dawn when you yourself laugh at your past efforts.
That which will be on the day you laugh is also here and now."
"Whatever be the means adopted, you must at last
return to the Self, so why not abide as the Self here and now?"
"There is neither creation nor destruction,
Neither destiny nor freewill;
Neither path nor achievement;
This is the final truth."
"Just as a man shudders with horror when he steps
upon a serpent, but laughs when he looks down and sees that it is only a rope,
so I discovered one day that what I was calling "I" cannot be found, and all
fear and anxiety vanished with my mistake."
"How Fascinating the idea of death can be.
"Everyone is God speaking.
"The meaning of Life is to see."
"Between God and Me there is no 'Between'."
"The eye with which I see God is the same eye with
which God sees me."
"When a person is confused, he sees east as west. When
he is enlightened, west itself is east."
"The foolish reject what they see, not what they think. The
wise reject what they think, not what they see."
"Among the great things which are to be found among us, the
Being of Nothingness is the greatest."
"I saw a wise man dying of starvation.
Leaves fall in the slightest wind in December.
And I saw a wealthy man beating his cook for some mistake with the spices.
Since then, I, Lalla, have been waiting for my love of this place to leave
"Self is what you are, You are That fathomless in which
experience and concepts appear.
Self is the Moment which has no coming or going, It is the Heart, Atman,
Emptiness, It shines to Itself, by Itself, in Itself.
Self is what gives breath to life, You need not search for It, It is Here.
You are That through which you would search.
You are what you are looking for!
And That is all it is.
Only Self is."
"You were never born, and though only desire takes
birth, Nothing has ever happened, Nothing has ever existed!
"There is no method, no teaching, and no practice.
Only be quiet and allow no I-thought to arise and You will reveal your Self to
"There is an Awareness beyond the awareness of
objects and events.
You are That Awareness in which the awareness of objects stays."
"Words are symbols for what's hidden from the mind.
They are inherently without meaning. We create meaning not from thoughts, but
from the symbols thoughts evoke."
"If you are carrying a heavy suitcase and you get on a
train, you can put your suitcase down - for the same train that is carrying
you, is carrying your burden."
"If you must be mad, why be mad about the things of
the world? Be mad for God alone!"
"When I was young I admired clever people. Now that I
am old, I admire kind people."
"For I desire kindness, not
"Give of yourself ... you can
always give something, even if it is only kindness....No one has ever become
poor from giving."
"Love blinds us to faults,
hatred to virtues."
"Hatred makes the
"It is better for my enemy to see good in me than for
me to see evil in him."
"I have only one life, and it is short enough. Why
waste it on the things I don't want most?"
"Expecting the world to treat you
fairly because you are a good person is like expecting the bull not to charge
you because you are a vegetarian."
"A man is what he is,
not what he used to be."
"Strive to see supernal light, for I have brought you
into a vast ocean. Be careful! Strive to see, yet escape drowning."
"All conceptual entanglement among human beings and all
the inner, mental conflicts suffered by each individual result solely from our
cloudy concept of the divine. All thoughts, whether practical or theoretical,
flow out of the endless divine ocean and return there."
"The essence of faith is an awareness of the vastness of Infinity. Whatever
conception of it enters the mind is an absolutely negligible speck in
comparison to what should be conceived, and what should be conceived is no
less negligible compared to what it really is."
"Every definition of God leads to heresy; definition is spiritual idolatry.
Even attributing mind and will to God, even attributing divinity itself, and
the name "God" - these, too, are definitions. Were it not for the subtle
awareness that all these are just sparkling flashes of that which transcends
definition-these, too, would engender heresy."
"The greatest impediment to the human spirit results from the fact that the
conception of God is fixed in a particular form, due to childish habit and
imagination. This is a spark of the defect of idolatry, of which we must
"All the troubles of the world, especially spiritual troubles such as
impatience, hopelessness, and despair, derive from the failure to see the
grandeur of God clearly."
"The infinite transcends every particular content of faith."
"The essence of serving God and of all the mitsvot is to attain the state of
humility, that is, to understand that all your physical and mental powers and
your essential being depend on the divine elements within. You are simply a
channel for the divine attributes. You attain this humility through the awe of
God's vastness, through realizing that 'there is no place empty of it.'"
"When the mind is at peace,
the world too is at peace.
Nothing real, nothing absent.
Not holding on to reality,
not getting stuck in the void,
you are neither holy nor wise, just
an ordinary fellow who has completed his work."
affairs are quite ordinary;
but I'm in total harmony with them.
I don't hold on to anything, don't reject anything;
nowhere an obstacle or conflict.
Who cares about wealth and honor?
Even the poorest thing shines.
My miraculous power and spiritual activity:
drawing water and carrying wood."
love and joy
are present everywhere,
can't come to visit you
unless you aren't there."
"God is a
concealed in now and here;
the less you reach for him,
the more he will appear."
"He who binds
"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
"The music that fills the outer ear is
but an echo of the inner harmony. One who learns to make his whole being an
ear, alone hears the music of eternity."
"When worldly love is
spiritualized-transformed from sense experience to soul experience-the
values of life are understood. Love is always divine, one and the same, within
and without both."
"When one learns to forget all that
one remembers, then in which language will the mind think? The thinker has
nothing to think upon. Therefore, there is no thought and no mind. Only the
Self exists with its majestic glory, which is simply beautiful and
"If you walk toward Him, He comes to
"I am the companion of him who remembers Me."
"O my Loard, if I worship Thee for fear of hell, burn me in
hell; and if I worship Thee for hope of Paradise, exclude me thence; but if I
worship Thee for Thine own sake, withhold not from me Thine eternal Beauty."
"Don't drink by the water's edge.
Throw yourself in. Become the water.
Only then will your thirst end."
"It is said that when you take only one step toward
Him, He advances ten steps toward you. But the complete truth is that God is
always with you."
"The Suchness of the Universe never moves.
"The faults of
others are easily seen, but one's own faults are seen with difficulty. One
winnows the faults of others like chaff, but conceals his own faults as a
fowler covers his body with twigs and leaves."
"It is well to remember that the
entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of
"When science discovers the
center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to find they are
"Be empty of yourself!"
"Nevertheless, in both religions, the main emphasis is on
the internal spiritual battle against one's own ignorance and destructive
"Not the light which illumines the world from without is God,
but the light which we cast upon it from within us: i.e., perception through
"If you love all things, you will also attain the divine
mystery that is in all things. For then your ability to perceive the truth
will grow every day, and your mind will open itself to an all-embracing love."
Last modified: July 11, 2004
Produced by the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun