To be free from convention is not to spurn it but not to be deceived by it.
Basically, there is simply nothing to worry about, because you yourself are the eternal energy of the universe.
The state of nirvana means the blown-out state -- the relieved state - the sigh of relief. Nirvana may be translated into English as "WHEW!"
One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious.
The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple.
The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.
Cultural renewal comes about when highly differentiated cultures mix.
To Taoism that which is absolutely still or absolutely perfect is absolutely dead, for without the possibility of growth and change there can be no Tao. In reality there is nothing in the universe which is completely perfect or completely still; it is only in the minds of men that such concepts exist.
There is no mission, nor interest to convert, and yet I believe that if this state of consciousness could become more universal, the pretentious nonsense which passes for the serious business of the world would dissolve in laughter. We should see at once that the high ideals for which we are killing and regimenting each other are empty and abstract substitutes for the unheeded miracles that surround us -- not only in the obvious wonders of nature but also in the overwhelming uncanny fact of mere existence.
When you find out that there was never anything in the dark side to be afraid of … Nothing is left but to love.
We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.
We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.
The Greek word for sinning means to ‘miss the point;' The point is eternal life which is here and now.
The difficulty of describing things for Western ears is that people in a hurry cannot feel.
To perceive that form reveals the void, and to see that the void reveals form, is the secret for the overcoming of death. To the extent that one is unaware of space, one is unaware of one's own eternity -- it's the same thing!
Enlightenment or awakening is not the creation of a new state of affairs but the recognition of what already is.
The essential principle of business -- of occupation in the world -- is this: figure out some way in which you get paid for playing.
The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity and it is really impossible to tell whether something that happens in it is good or bad. Because you never know what will be the consequences of the misfortune. Or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.
There is simply no problem of life; it is absolutely purposeless play; it doesn't have to continue; there is no reason whatever to explain it, for explanations are just another form of complexity, a new manifestation of life on top of life, gestures gesturing. If there is any problem at all it is to find out how people come to think there is a problem, whatever made them imagine that life is serious. Basically there is the gesture. Time, space, multiplicity are all complications of it. Pain and suffering are very far-out forms of play, and there just isn't anything at all to be afraid of. There isn't any ego. The ego is a kind of flip, knowing that you know -- like being afraid of being afraid. It's a curlicue, an extra jazz to things, a sort of double take or reverberation, a dithering of consciousness which is the same as anxiety.
People think it would be nice to have peace of mind, to be serene, to be calm, to be undisturbed by this, that, and the other. But as long as you make all those things objects of desire, you have defined yourself as lacking them.
To really do nothing, with perfection, is as difficult as doing everything.
Buddha's doctrine: man suffers because of his craving to possess and keep forever things which are impermanent.
Dispelling dread isn't a matter of trying to forget about washing dishes. It is realizing that in actual fact you only have one dish to wash, ever: this one; only one step to take, ever: this one. And that is Zen.
If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you'll come to understand that you're connected with everything.
A life full of goals or endpoints is like trying to abate one's hunger by eating merely the two precise ends of a banana.
A chest of gold coins or a fat wallet of bills is of no use
whatsoever to a wrecked sailor alone on a raft.
You can't get wet from the word 'water.'
There is nothing wrong with meditating just to meditate, in the same way that you listen to music just for the music. If you go to concerts to "get culture" or to improve your mind, you will sit there as deaf as a doorpost.
Perhaps there is no other knowing than the mere competence of the act. If at the heart of one's being, there is no self to which one ought to be true, then sincerity is simply nerve; it lies in the unabashed vigor of the pretense. But pretense is only pretense when it is assumed that the act is not true to the agent. Find the agent.
As muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone, it could be argued that those who sit quietly and do nothing are making one of the best possible contributions to a world in turmoil.
Here's an example: someone says, "Master, please hand me the knife," and he hands them the knife, blade first. "Please give me the other end," he says. And the master replies, "What would you do with the other end?" This is answering an everyday matter in terms of the metaphysical.
When the question is, "Master, what is the fundamental principle of Buddhism?" Then he replies, "There is enough breeze in this fan to keep me cool." That is answering the metaphysical in terms of the everyday, and that is, more or less, the principle zen works on. The mundane and the sacred are one and the same.
As a human being it is just my nature to enjoy and share philosophy. I do this in the same way that some birds are eagles and some doves, some flowers lilies and some roses.
There is only this now. It does not come from anywhere; it is not going anywhere. It is not permanent, but it is not impermanent. Though moving, it is always still. When we try to catch it, it seems to run away, and yet it is always here and there is no escape from it. And when we turn around to find the self which knows this moment, we find that it has vanished like the past.
Western religions are more concerned with behavior, doctrine, and belief than with any transformation of the way in which we are aware of ourselves and our world.
Hospitals should be arranged in such a way as to make being sick an interesting experience. One learns a great deal sometimes from being sick.
We are at the moment looking at space as something to be entered by the tremendous thrust of a rocket because that is the attitude of attacking the unknown. And that causes us not to realize that we are already on the most magnificently equipped spaceship, which could hardly be improved upon. It has got a source of temperature and energy just at the right distance from it. It's beautifully equipped with oxygen, with food supplies, with all kinds of delightful things to do while on the journey.... and it's traveling through space at a colossal speed... and it's called the planet Earth.
We tend to regard ourselves as puppets of the Past, driven along by something that is always behind us.
It is essential to understand this point thoroughly: that the thing-in-itself, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral, is not only unknowable-it does not exist. This is important not only for sanity and peace of mind, but also for the most "practical" reasons of economics, politics, and technology.. This is not to say only that things exist in relation to one another, but that what we call "things" are no more than glimpses of a unified process. Certainly, this process has distinct features which catch our attention, but we must remember that distinction is not separation.
It is also in despair of being able to understand or make any productive contribution to the highly organised chaos of our politico-economic system that large numbers of people simply abandon political and social committments. They just let society be taken over by a pattern of organisation which is as self-proliferative as a weed, and whose ends and values are neither human nor instinctive but mechanical.
The desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing.
Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, openness -- an act of trust in the unknown.
We know that from time to time there arise among human beings people who seem to exude love as naturally as the sun gives out heat.
Essentially Satori is a sudden experience, and it is often described as a "turning over" of the mind, just as a pair of scales will suddenly turn over when a sufficient amount of material has been poured into one pan to overbalance the weight in the other. Hence it is an experience which generally occurs after a long and concentrated effort to discover the meaning of Zen.
A myth is an image in terms of which we try to make sense of the world.
Zen is a way of liberation, concerned not with discovering what is good or bad or advantageous, but what is.
You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are.
The myths underlying our culture and underlying our common sense have not taught us to feel identical with the universe, but only parts of it, only in it, only confronting it -- aliens.
The myths underlying our culture and underlying our common sense have not taught us to feel identical with the universe, but only parts of it, only in it, only confronting it -- aliens... within I don't know how many years, but in not too long a time, it's going to become basic common sense that you are not some alien being who confronts an external world that is not you, but that almost every intelligent person will have the feeling of being an activity of the entire universe.
Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we're not alone.
The destination of life is this eternal moment.
But to me nothing, the negative, the empty, is exceedingly powerful.
If we are not totally blind, what we are seeking is already here. This is it.
Your world is all these elements. Of light and sound, of taste, smell, and touch, woven together in many dimensions on the fabulous loom of your brain. Your brain; the most complicated thing in the world, which you yourself grew...without even thinking about it.
The psychotherapist... tries to help the individual to be himself and to go it alone without giving unnecessary offense to his community, to be in the world (of social convention) but not of the world.
Everything in the world is gloriously meaningless.
But we try to pretend, you see, that the external world exists altogether independently of us.
A certain amount of doing nothing, and stopping rushing around, would cool everything.
To resist change, to try to cling to life, is like holding your breath: if you persist you kill yourself.
The essential point is to consider love as a spectrum. There is not, as it were, just nice love and nasty love, spiritual love and material love, mature affection on the one hand and infatuation on the other. These are all forms of the same energy. And you have to take it and let it grow where you find it. When you find only one of these forms existing, if at least you will water it, the rest will blossom as well. But the effectual prerequisite from the beginning is to let it have its way.
Ego is a social institution with no physical reality. The ego is simply your symbol of yourself. Just as the word "water" is a noise that symbolizes a certain liquid without being it, so too the idea of ego symbolizes the role you play, who you are, but it is not the same as your living organism.
Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.
Buddhism has in it no idea of there being a moral law laid down by some kind of cosmic lawgiver.
If you awaken from this illusion, and you understand that black implies white, self implies other, life implies death -- or shall I say, death implies life -- you can conceive yourself. Not conceive, but feel yourself, not as a stranger in the world, not as someone here on sufferance, on probation, not as something that has arrived here by fluke, but you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental. What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.
Nothing satisfies an individual incapable of enjoyment.
The trouble with many religions, accused of wishful thinking, is that they are not wishful enough. They show a deplorable lack of imagination.
The Chinese word Li may therefore be understood as organic order, as distinct from mechanical or legal order, both of which go by the book. Li is the asymmetrical, nonrepetitive, and unregimented order which we find in the patterns of moving water, the form of trees and clouds, of frost crystals on the window, or the scattering of pebbles on beach sand.
It takes time for an acorn to turn into an oak, but the oak is already implied in the acorn.
I find that the sensation of myself as an ego inside a bag of skin is really a hallucination.
Everything is perpetually becoming new.
If a flower had a God it would not be a transcendental flower but a field.
Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination.
There is no formula for generating the authentic warmth of love. It cannot be copied.
There is no formula for generating the authentic warmth of love. It cannot be copied. You cannot talk yourself into it or rouse it by straining at the emotions or by dedicating yourself solemnly to the service of mankind. Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself. This conviction will not come through condemnations, through hating oneself, through calling self love bad names in the universe. It comes only in the awareness that one has no self to love.
Imagine a multidimensional spider's web in the early morning covered with dew drops. And every dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops. And, in each reflected dew drop, the reflections of all the other dew drops in that reflection. And so ad infinitum. That is the Buddhist conception of the universe in an image.
In Hindu philosophy the whole creation is regarded as the Vishnu Lila, the play of Vishnu. Lila means dance or play. Also in Hindu philosophy, they call the world illusion; and in Latin the root of the word illusion is ludere, to play.
Increasingly, we're developing all kinds of systems for verifying reality by echoing it.
You know that if you get in the water and have nothing to hold on to, but try to behave as you would on dry land, you will drown. But if, on the other hand, you trust yourself to the water and let go, you will float. And this is exactly the situation of faith.
The point, which can hardly be repeated too often, is that differentiation is not separation. The head and the feet are different, but not separate, and though man is not connected to the universe by exactly the same physical relation as branch to tree or feet to head, he is nonetheless connected -- and by physical relations of fascinating complexity.
The sound of the rain needs no translation.
That's a waste of time. If you really understand Zen. You can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because... the sound of the rain needs no translation.
The measuring of worth and success in the terms of time, and the insistent demand for assurances of a promising future, make it impossible to live freely both in the present and in the "promising" future when it arrives. For there is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one cannot live anywhere.
The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.
These people, as far as I can see, do not congregate in the notorious centers of the movement, like the North Beach in San Francisco or Greenwich Village, or Venice, California.
Nirvana is where you are, provided you don't object to it.
Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.
You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate "you" to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. The only real "you" is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For "you" is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new.
We feel that our actions are voluntary when they follow a decision and involuntary when they happen without decision. But if a decision itself were voluntary every decision would have to be preceded by a decision to decide -- An infinite regression which fortunately does not occur. Oddly enough, if we had to decide to decide, we would not be free to decide.
We are at war between consciousness and nature, between the desire for permanence and the fact of flux. It is ourself against ourselves.
The world is filled with love-play, from animal lust to sublime compassion.
You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.
No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.
The whole point of Zen is to suspend the rules we have superimposed on things and to see the world as it is.
People sometimes fail to live because they are always preparing to live.
If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you'll spend your life completely wasting your time. You'll be doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don't like doing, which is stupid.
The fools standpoint is that all social institutions are games. He sees the whole world as game playing. That's why, when people take their games seriously and take on stern and pious expressions, the fool gets the giggles because he knows that it is all a game.
It seems to be the special peculiarity of human beings that they reflect: they think about thinking and know that they know. This, like other feedback systems, may lead to vicious circles and confusions if improperly managed, but self-awareness makes human experience resonant. It imparts that simultaneous "echo" to all that we think and feel as the box of a violin reverberates with the sound of the strings. It gives depth and volume to what would otherwise be shallow and flat.
No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.
LSD is simply an exploratory instrument like a microscope or telescope, except this one is inside of you instead of outside of you.
Zen is really extraordinarily simple as long as one doesn't try to be cute about it or beat around the bush! Zen is simply the sensation and the clear understanding ... that there is behind the multiplicity of events and creatures in this universe simply one energy -- and it appears as you, and everything is it. The practice of Zen is to understand that one energy so as to "feel it in your bones."
To play so as to be relaxed and refreshed for work is not to play, and no work is well and finely done unless it, too, is a form of play.
We are not clear as to the role in life of these chemicals; nor are we clear as to the role of the physician. You know, of course, that in ancient times there was no clear distinction between priest and physician.
The anitya doctrine is, again, not quite the simple assertion that the world is impermanent, but rather that the more one grasps at the world, the more it changes.
It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu lila, lila meaning play. And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance -- lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt.
And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on.
The idea of the Universe being ruled by that marvelous old gentleman is no longer plausible. It isn't that anybody has disproved it, but it just somehow doesn't go with the vast infinitude of the Universe.
Meditation is the way in which we come to feel our basic inseparability from the whole universe, and what that requires is that we shut up.
The problem comes up because we ask the question in the wrong way. We supposed that solids were one thing and space quite another, or just nothing whatever. Then it appeared that space was no mere nothing, because solids couldn't do without it. But the mistake in the beginning was to think of solids and space as two different things, instead of as two aspects of the same thing. The point is that they are different but inseparable, like the front end and the rear end of a cat. Cut them apart, and the cat dies.
Don't hurry anything. Don't worry about the future. Don't worry about what progress you're making. Just be entirely content to be aware of what is.
How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment -- from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies -- how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?
Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would "lief" or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go.
To define is to limit, to set boundaries, to compare and to contrast, and for this reason, the universe, the all, seems to defy definition....Just as no one in his senses would look for the morning news in a dictionary, no one should use speaking and thinking to find out what cannot be spoken or thought.
The freest of my actions just happen like hiccups inside me or like a bird singing outside me.
I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.
You're not something that's a result of the big bang. You're not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe.
We identify in our experience a differentiation between what we do and what happens to us.
Faith is, above all, openness; an act of trust in the unknown.
It is a special kind of enlightenment to have this feeling that the usual, the way things normally are, is odd, uncanny and highly improbable. G.K.Chesterton once said that it is one thing to be amazed at gorgon or a griffin, creatures which do not exist; but it is quite another and much higher thing to be amazed at a rhinoceros or a giraffe, creatures which do exist and look as if they don't. This feeling of universal oddity includes a basic and intense wondering about the sense of things.
The art of living... is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.
Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up. Now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.
Of what use is the universe? What is the practical application of a million galaxies? Yet just because it has no use, it has a use -- which may sound like a paradox, but is not. What, for instance, is the use of playing music? If you play to make money, to outdo some other artist, to be a person of culture, or to improve your mind, you are not really playing -- for your mind is not on the music. You don't swing. When you come to think of it, playing or listening to music is a pure luxury, an addiction, a waste of valuable time and money for nothing more than making elaborate patterns of sound.
What you do is what the whole universe is doing at the place you call "here and now," and you are something the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing... The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around. The real deep-down you is the whole universe.
But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.
The knowledge of the past stays with us. To let go is simply to release any images and emotions.
The Highest to which people can attain is wonder; and if the prime phenomenon makes them wonder, let them be content; nothing higher can it give them, and nothing further should they seek for behind it; there is the limit.
For there is a growing apprehension that existence is a rat-race in a trap: living organisms, including people, are merely tubes which put things in at one end and let them out at the other, which both keeps them doing it and in the long run wears them out. So to keep the farce going, the tubes find ways of making new tubes, which also put things in at one end and let them out at the other.
If the human race develops an electronic nervous system, outside the bodies of individual people, thus giving us all one mind and one global body, this is almost precisely what has happened in the organization of cells which compose our own bodies. We have already done it. ... If all this ends with the human race leaving no more trace of itself in the universe than a system of electronic patterns, why should that trouble us? For that is exactly what we are now!
We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.
Sex is no longer a serious taboo. Teenagers sometimes know more about it than adults.
Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.
We must abandon completely the notion of blaming the past for any kind of situation we're in.
The difficulty for most of us in the modern world is that the old-fashioned idea of God has become incredible or implausible.
The moralist is the person who tells people that they ought to be unselfish, when they still feel like egos, and his efforts are always and invariably futile.
You are the universe experiencing itself.
The Godhead is never an object of its own knowledge. Just as a knife doesn't cut itself, fire doesn't burn itself, light doesn't illuminate itself. It's always an endless mystery to itself.
Everybody is fundamentally the ultimate reality.
Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.
Hurrying and delaying are alike ways of trying to resist the present.
Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.
You don't look out there for God, something in the sky, you look in you.
For thousands of years human history has been a magnificently futile conflict, a wonderfully staged panorama of triumphs and tragedies based on the resolute taboo against admitting that black goes with white.
A holy person is someone who is whole; who has, as it were, reconciled his opposites.
Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.
When death comes, it's just like winter. We don't say, "There ought not to be winter." That the winter season, when the leaves fall and the snow comes, is some kind of defeat, something which we should hold out against. No. Winter is part of the natural course of events. No winter, no summer. No cold, no heat.
If you study the writings of the mystics, you will always find things in them that appear to be paradoxes, as in Zen, particularly.
Real religion is the transformation of anxiety into laughter.
The past and the future, are in the present.
We keep counting time. We have the sensation time is running out, and we bug ourselves with this. Time is nothing but an abstract measure of motion. We are living in an eternal now.
The animal tends to eat with his stomach, and the man with his brain. When the animal's stomach is full, he stops eating, but the man is never sure when to stop. When he has eaten as much as his belly can take, he still feels empty, he still feels an urge for further gratification.
Life and Reality are not things you can have for yourself unless you accord them to all others. They do not belong to particular persons any more than the sun, moon and stars.
If we want justice for minorities and cooled wars with our natural enemies, whether human or non-human, we must first come to terms with the minority and the enemy in ourselves and in our own hearts, for the rascal is there as much as anywhere in the "external" world -- -especially when you realize that the world outside your skin is as much yourself as the world inside.
What keeps us from happiness is our inability to fully inhabit the present.
Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself.
Breathing is important in the practice of meditation because it is the faculty in us that is simultaneously voluntary and involuntary. You can feel that you are breathing, and equally you can feel that it is breathing you. So it is a sort of bridge between the voluntary world and the involuntary world -- a place where they are one.
In known history, nobody has had such capacity for altering the universe than the people of the United States of America. And nobody has gone about it in such an aggressive way.
To succeed is always to fail -- in the sense that the more one succeeds in anything, the greater is the need to go on succeeding. To eat is to survive to be hungry.
Inability to accept the mystic experience is more than an intellectual handicap.
Inability to accept the mystic experience is more than an intellectual handicap. Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination. For in a civilization equipped with immense technological power, the sense of alienation between man and nature leads to the use of technology in a hostile spirit -- to the "conquest" of nature instead of intelligent co-operation with nature.
Do you see yourself as a victim of the world, or do you see yourself as the world?
A banquet hall deserted, after the revelry, all the guests have left and gone their ways. And the table, with overturned glasses, crumbled napkins, bread crumbs, dirty knives and forks, lies empty. And the laughter echoes only in one's mind… And then the echo goes, the memory, the traces are all gone.
When a man no longer confuses himself with the definition of himself that others have given him, he is at once universal and unique. He is universal by virtue of the inseparability of his organism from the cosmos. He is unique in that he is just this organism and not any stereotype of role, class, or identity assumed for the convenience of social communication.
The style of God venerated in church, mosque, and synagogue seems completely different from the style of the natural universe.
A living body is not a fixed thing but a flowing event, like a flame or a whirlpool: the shape alone is stable, for the substance is a stream of energy going in at one end and out at the other. We are particularly and temporarily identifiable wiggles in a stream that enters us in the form of light, heat, air, water, milk, bread, fruit, beer, beef Stroganoff, caviar, and pate de foie gras. It goes out as gas and excrement -- and also as semen, babies, talk, politics, commerce, war, poetry, and music. And philosophy.
Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries on and on, and misses everything. It is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world.
To remain stable is to refrain from trying to separate yourself from a pain because you know that you cannot. Running away from fear is fear, fighting pain is pain, trying to be brave is being scared. If the mind is in pain, the mind is pain. The thinker has no other form than his thought. There is no escape.
No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.
Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.
By replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity we open ourselves up to an infinite stream of possibility. We can let fear rule our lives or we can become childlike with curiosity, pushing our boundaries, leaping out of our comfort zones, and accepting what life puts before us.
We accepted a definition of ourselves which confined the self to the source and to the limitations of conscious attention. This definition is miserably insufficient, for in fact we know how to grow brains and eyes, ears and fingers, hearts and bones, in just the same way that we know how to walk and breathe, talk and think -- only we can't put it into words. Words are too slow and too clumsy for describing such things, and conscious attention is too narrow for keeping track of all their details.
The only alternative to a shuddering paralysis is to leap into action regardless of the consequences.
To go out of your mind at least once a day is tremendously important. By going out of your mind, you come to your senses.
Now, you see, if you understand what I'm saying, with your intelligence, and then take the next step and say "But I understood it now, but I didn't feel it." Then, next I raise the question: Why do you want to feel it? You say: "I want something more," because that's again that spiritual greed. And you could only say that because you didn't understand it.
We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time.
So we down-to-earth, gutsy, tough, realistic, and practical types have just been squandering billions of dollars and unimaginable amounts of energy, nerve-work, and materials in whizzing off to the moon to discover, as astronomers knew before, that it was just a dreary slag heap. This is the true, original and scientifically etymological meaning of being lunatics. Crying for the moon.
The agnostic, the skeptic, is neurotic, but this does not imply a false philosophy; it implies the discovery of facts to which he does not know how to adapt himself. The intellectual who tries to escape from neurosis by escaping from the facts is merely acting on the principle that "where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise."
The life of Zen begins, therefore, in a disillusion with the pursuit of goals which do not really exist: the good without the bad, the gratification of a self which is no more than an idea, and the morrow which never comes.
The greater part of human activity is designed to make permanent those experiences and joys which are only lovable because they are changing.
Like love, the light or guidance of truth that influences us exists only in living form, not in principles or rules or expectations or advice, however widely circulated.
When we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.
Duality is always secretly unity.
Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery -- the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets -- is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.
Inner emptiness is not a void to be filled with comforts; it is a window to be looked through.
Substances like LSD, which give away a secret about the nature of the social game -- the human game and what underlies it -- are potentially dangerous, of course, like any good thing is. Electricity is dangerous, fire is dangerous, cars are dangerous, planes are dangerous, but not so dangerous as driving on the freeway. The only way to handle danger is to face it. If you start getting frightened of it, then you make it worse. Because you project onto it all kinds of bogeys and threats which don't exist in it at all.
What we have to discover is that there is no safety, that seeking is painful, and that when we imagine that we have found it, we don't like it.
No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.
The only serious side-effect of marijuana is that you might get arrested.
The self-styled practical man of affairs who pooh-poohs philosophy as a lot of windy notions is himself a pragmatist or a positivist, and a bad one at that, since he has given no thought to his position.
For the perfect accomplishment of any art, you must get this feeling of the eternal present into your bones -- for it is the secret of proper timing. No rush. No dawdle. Just the sense of flowing with the course of events in the same way that you dance to music, neither trying to outpace it nor lagging behind. Hurrying and delaying are alike ways of trying to resist the present.
Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.
Thought is a means of concealing Truth.
But at any rate, the point is that God is what nobody admits to being, and everybody really is.
We thought of life by analogy with a journey, a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end, and the thing was to get to that end, success or whatever it is, maybe heaven after you're dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.
Like too much alcohol, self-consciousness makes us see ourselves double, and we make the double image for two selves -- mental and material, controlling and controlled, reflective and spontaneous. Thus instead of suffering we suffer about suffering, and suffer about suffering about suffering.
The best way to convince someone is by making him realize that what you speak came from his own mind.
Courage is the goal of cowards.
Truly great companies are built on ideals, not just deals.
You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with great telescopes.
The mundane and the sacred are one and the same.
The hallucination of being a separate ego will not stand up to biological tests.
Money is a way of measuring wealth but is not wealth in itself.
Every explicit duality is an implicit unity.
When you're ready to wake up, you're going to wake up. And if you're not ready, you're going to stay pretending you're just "poor little me."
You yourself are the eternal energy which appears as this universe. You didn't come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.
Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.
Ordinarily we do not discover the wisdom of our feelings because we do not let them complete their work. We try to suppress them or discharge them in premature action. Not realizing that they are a process of creation which, like birth, begins as a pain and turns into a child.
To the philosophers of India, however, relativity is no new discovery, just as the concept of light years is no matter for astonishment to people used to thinking of time in millions of kalpas, (A kalpa is about 4,320,000 years). The fact that the wise men of India have not been concerned with technological applications of this knowledge arises from the circumstance that technology is but one of innumerable ways of applying it.
What governs what we choose to notice? The first (which we shall have to qualify later) is whatever seems advantageous or disadvantageous for our survival, our social status, and the security of our egos. The second, again working simultaneously with the first, is the pattern and the logic of all the notation symbols which we have learned from others, from our society and our culture. It is hard indeed to notice anything for which the languages available to us (whether verbal, mathematical, or musical) have no description. This is why we borrow words from foreign languages.
What are plants doing? What are plants all about? They serve human beings by being decorative, but what is it from its own point of view? It's using up air; it's using up energy. It's really not doing anything except being ornamental. And yet here's this whole vegetable world, cactus plants, trees, roses, tulips, and edible vegetables, like cabbages, celery, lettuce -- they're all doing this dance.
There's an interdependence between flowers and bees. Where there are no flowers there are no bees, and where there are no bees, there are no flowers. They are really one organism. And so in the same way, everything in nature depends on everything else.
We are the eyes of the cosmos. So that in a way, when you look deeply into somebody's eyes, you're looking deep into yourself, and the other person is looking deeply into the same self.
Unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax.
Do you have any control over being conscious? Do you know how you will?
So the bodhisattva saves all beings, not by preaching sermons to them, but by showing them that they are delivered, they are liberated, by the act of not being able to stop changing.
Just as the highest and the lowest notes are equally inaudible, so perhaps, is the greatest sense and the greatest nonsense equally unintelligible.
The real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the I out of the experience...
Sanity, wholeness and integration lie in the realisation that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate I or mind can be found .... Life is a dance, and when you are dancing, you are not intent on getting somewhere. The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance.
What I am really saying is that you don't need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.
We get such a kick out of looking forward to pleasures and rushing ahead to meet them that we can't slow down enough to enjoy them when they come.
For the world is an ever-elusive and ever-disappointing mirage only from the standpoint of someone standing aside from it -- as if it were quite other than himself -- and then trying to grasp it. But a third response is possible. Not withdrawal, not stewardship on the hypothesis of a future reward, but the fullest collaboration with the world as a harmonious system of contained conflicts -- based on the realization that the only real "I" is the whole endless process.
All I'm saying is that minerals are just a rudimentary form of consciousness whereas the other people are saying that consciousness is a complicated form of minerals.
You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.
Taoism is a way of liberation, which never comes by means of revolution, since it is notorious that most revolutions establish worse tyrannies than they destroy.
We need, above all things, to slow down and get ourselves to amble through life instead of to rush through it.
Self-knowledge leads to wonder, and wonder to curiosity and investigation, so that nothing interests people more than people, even if only one's own person.
I can only think seriously of trying to live up to an ideal, to improve myself, if I am split in two pieces. There must be a good "I" who is going to improve the bad "me." "I," who has the best intentions, will go to work on wayward "me," and the tussle between the two will very much stress the difference between them. Consequently "I" will feel more separate than ever, and so merely increase the lonely and cut-off feelings which make "me" behave so badly.
The truth is revealed by removing things that stand in its light, an art not unlike sculpture, in which the artist creates, not by building, but by hacking away.
Our educational system in its entirety does nothing to give us any kind of material competence. In other words, we don't learn how to cook, how to make clothes, how to build houses, how to make love, or to do any of the absolutely fundamental things of life.
What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money ... but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth ... In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are "coins" for real things.
There is always something taboo, something repressed, unadmitted, or just glimpsed quickly out of the corner of one's eye because a direct look is too unsettling. Taboos lie within taboos, like the skin of an onion.
Everybody should do in their lifetime, sometime, two things. One is to consider death... to observe skulls and skeletons and to wonder what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up -- never. That is a most gloomy thing for contemplation; it's like manure. Just as manure fertilizes the plants and so on, so the contemplation of death and the acceptance of death is very highly generative of creating life. You'll get wonderful things out of that.
But I'll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you'll come to understand that you're connected with everything.
How could you say the best form of government is a republic if you think the universe is a monarchy?
To have order, you must have randomness, because where you have no randomness order cannot manifest itself.
Without birth and death, and without the perpetual transmutation of all the forms of life, the world would be static, rhythm-less, undancing, mummified.
All that you see out in front of you is how you feel inside your head.
If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.
If my happiness at this moment consists largely in reviewing happy memories and expectations, I am but dimly aware of this present. I shall still be dimly aware of the present when the good things that I have been expecting come to pass. For I shall have formed a habit of looking behind and ahead, making it difficult for me to attend to the here and now. If, then , my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.
Anxiety is the fear that one of a pair of opposites might cancel the other. Forever.
What the devil is the point of surviving, going on living, when it's a drag? But you see, that's what people do.
The relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.
To feel that life is meaningless unless "I" can be permanent is like having fallen desperately in love with an inch.
The religious idea of God cannot do full duty for the metaphysical infinity.
The problem is to overcome the ingrained disbelief in the power of winning nature by love, in the gentle (ju) way (do) of turning with the skid, of controlling ourselves by cooperating with ourselves.
We are all as much extraordinary phenomena of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars and the form of a galaxy.
The menu is not the meal.
To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.
Buddhism ... is not a culture but a critique of culture, an enduring nonviolent revolution or "loyal opposition" to the culture in which it is involved.
But the disappearance of the effort to let go is precisely the disappearance of the separate thinker, of the ego trying to watch the mind without interfering.
In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all.
But nirvana is a radical transformation of how it feels to be alive: it feels as if everything were myself, or as if everything -- including "my" thoughts and actions -- were happening of itself. There are still efforts, choices, and decisions, but not the sense that "I make them"; they arise of themselves in relation to circumstances. This is therefore to feel life, not as an encounter between subject and object, but as a polarized field where the contest of opposites has become the play of opposites.
The individual may be understood as one particular focal point at which the whole universe expresses itself -- as an incarnation of the self, or of the Godhead, or whatever one may choose to call it.
The biggest ego trip is getting rid of your ego, and of course the joke of it all is that your ego does not exist.
You can't live at all unless you can live fully now.
A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with Reality, and lives in a world of illusion.
We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point; as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.
Religion is not a department of life; it is something that enters into the whole of it.
To know that you are God is another way of saying that you feel completely with this universe. You feel profoundly rooted in it and connected with it. You feel, in other words, that the whole energy, which expresses itself in the galaxies, is intimate. It is not something to which you are a stranger, but it is that with which you, whatever it is, are intimately bound up. That in your seeing, your hearing, your talking, your thinking, your moving, you express that which it is that moves the sun and other stars.
The Universe is the game of the self, which plays hide and seek forever and ever.
If you are afraid of death, be afraid. The point is to get with it, to let it take over -- fear, ghosts, pains, transience, dissolution, and all. And then comes the hitherto unbelievable surprise; you don't die because you were never born. You had just forgotten who you are.
The materialism of modern civilization is paradoxically founded on a hatred of materiality, a goal-oriented desire to obliterate all natural limits through technology, imposing an abstract grid over nature.
Carried to its final extreme, the logical end of this type of reaction to life is suicide. The hard-bitten kind of person is always, as it were, a partial suicide; some of himself is already dead.
There are two specific objections to use of psychedelic drugs. First, use of these drugs may be dangerous. However, every worthwhile exploration is dangerous -- climbing mountains, testing aircraft, rocketing into outer space, or collecting botanical specimens in jungles. But if you value knowledge and the actual delight of exploration more than mere duration of uneventful life, you are willing to take the risks.
I was talking to a Zen master the other day and he said, "You shall be my disciple." I looked at him and said, "Who was Buddha's teacher?" He looked at me in a very odd way for a moment and then he burst into laughter and handed me a piece of clover.
Although we all realize that monotony is boring, almost every form of industrial work -- banking, accounting, mass-producing, service -- is monotonous, and most people are paid for simply putting up with monotony.