Friday, January 8, 2016

Quote Collecting

As 2016 starts, I turn the pages in a new Zen calendar. 
Here are some of the quotes 
that resonated in the last months of 2015:

Paradise is where I am.
-       Voltaire
I don’t want to earn my living; I want to live.
-       Oscar Wilde
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life:  It goes on.
-       Robert Frost
There would seem to be nothing more obvious, more tangible and palpable than the present moment. And yet it eludes us completely. All the sadness of life lies in that fact.
-       Milan Kundera
But for this rock, its shadow says, I could get at the sun.
-       James Richardson
It is better to do the most trifling thing in the world than to regard half an hour as a trifle.
-       Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
When you are fooled by something else, the damage will not be so big.  But when you are fooled by yourself, it is fatal.
-       Shunryu Suzuki

The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.
-       Thich Nhat Hanh
If we forgive life for not being what we told it to be, or expected, or wished, or longed for it to be, we forgive ourselves for not being what we might have been also. And then we can be what we are, which is boundless.
-       John Tarrant
There is no reality in the absence of observation.
-       The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here forever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.
-       Virginia Woolf
You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.
-       Naguib Mahfouz
Defend your inner world. Be present. Be in the moment. Engaged. Connected.
-       Rainer Maria Rilke
The path is the goal.
-       Buddhist saying
Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words.
-       William Faulkner

Life is something that has to be lived and not talked about.
-       Carl Gustav Jung
Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.
-       Jack Kerouac
Develop interest in life as you see it, in people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.
-       Henry Miller
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment.
-       Thich Nhat Hanh
The bluebird carries the sky on his back.
-       Henry David Thoreau
Don’t use Buddhism to become a Buddhist. Use Buddhism to become better at whatever else in your life you are doing already.
-       The Dalai Lama
Whenever someone asked a certain Zen master how he was, he would always answer, “I’m ok.”  Finally one of his students said, “Roshi, how can you always be ok?  Don’t you ever have a bad day?”  The Zen master answered, “Sure I do. On bad days I’m ok. On good days I’m also ok.” This is equanimity.
-       Pema Chodron
Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
-       Alan Watts


You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what phones are taking away, the ability to just sit there. That’s being a person. Because underneath everything in your life, there is that thing, that empty – forever empty. That knowledge that it’s all for nothing and you’re alone.
-       Louis C.K.

If you understand real practice, then archery or other activities can be zen. If you don’t understand how to practice archery in its true sense, then even though you practice very hard, what you acquire is just technique. It won’t help you through and through.  Perhaps you can hit the mark without trying, but without a bow and arrow you cannot do anything. If you understand the point of practice, then even without a bow and arrow the archery will help you. How you get that kind of power or ability is only through right practise.
-       Shunryu Suzuki
A priest visited Nyogen Senzaki at his zendo, and asked, “What is Zen?” Senzaki put his finger to his lips and whispered, “We do not speak in the meditation room.” The priest followed him to the library and was about to ask again, when Senzaki whispered, “This is where we read books.” By the time they went to the kitchen Senzaki didn’t even give him a chance to speak, and whispered, “We cook here without a word and eat here without speaking.” As Senzaki opened the door and shook his hand the priest grasped, “What is Zen?” and went away.
-       Zen Mondo
For a table to exist, we need wood, a carpenter, time, skillfulness, and many other causes. And each of these causes needs other causes in order to be. The wood needs the forest, the sunshine, the rain, and so on. The carpenter needs his parents, breakfast, fresh air, and so on. And each of these things, in turn, has to be brought about by other conditions. If we continue to look in this way, we’ll see that nothing has been left out; everything in the cosmos has come together to bring us this table. Looking deeply at the sunshine, the leaves of the tree, and the clouds, we can see the table. The one can be seen in the all, and the all can be seen in the one.
-       Thich Nhat Hanh

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