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Quotes and Reflections

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Beneath the mountain
a stream flows
on and on without end.

If one's Zen mind is like this
seeing into one's nature
cannot be far off.


Hakuin (1686-1768)



Our ways of thinking
make our happiness
or unhappiness,
our success
or nonsuccess.

We can, by right effort,
change our ways of thinking.


H. Emilie Cady (1848-1941)
Homeopathic physician



Inscription on Hui-neng's tombstone

According to his doctrine,
non-doing is reality,
emptiness is the truth,
and the ultimate meaning
of things is vast and immovable.

He taught that human nature
in its beginning
as well as in the end
is thoroughly good…
for it has its root
in that which is serene.


Liu Tsung-yuan



Why do I talk here?
Only because you
followers of the Tao
go galloping around in
search of the mind,
and are unable to stop it.

On the other hand,
the ancients acted in a leisurely
way, appropriate to
circumstances as they arose.





You ask me why I stay
on this blue mountain?

I smile but do not answer.
My mind is at ease!

Peach blossoms
and flowing streams
pass away without a trace.

How different from
the mundane world!


Li P'o (701-762)



The mind is the source of all virtues.
And this mind is the chief of all powers.

The eternal bliss of nirvana comes from the mind at rest.
Rebirth in the three realms also comes from the mind.

The mind is the door to every world.
And the mind is the ford to the other shore.


Bodhidharma (440 - 533)



The teaching of the mind ground
is the basis of Zen study.

The mind ground is
the great awareness
of being as is.


Fa Yen



Becoming a buddha is easy,
but ending illusions is hard.

So many frosted moonlit nights
I've sat and felt
the cold before dawn.


Shih-wu (1272-1352)



A student asked his master:

"What is the fundamental principle of Buddhism?"
"I'll tell you later when there is no one around," replied the master.

Later, the master led his student to a bamboo grove where no one was around and whispered:

"Look how high these bamboos are! And how short those over there!"


Zen Master



We are born with empty hands, we die with empty hands: this is human.
Also when we are sitting in meditation, our hands are empty.

Letting all delusions fall,
what is actually a human being?


Tae Hye Sunim



Please practice diligently to clarify this matter of birth and death
for the benefit of all living beings: vast is the sea, and empty the great sky.

It cannot be called ordinary nor is it sacred.
Bowing to the four directions, where, then, is the error?


Zen Master



I have lived on the lip of insanity,
wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door.

It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside!





Colors of the mountains,
streams in the valleys;

One in all, all in one,
the voice and body of
our Sakyamuni Buddha.


Dogen (1200-1253)



Does one really have to fret
about enlightenment?

No matter what road I travel,
I'm going home.





Investigate your mind
and realize your Buddha-nature
that which never rests nor moves,
neither starts nor stops.

You will have wasted your
lifetime if you don't.





When you look for God,

God is in the look of your eyes.


Jelaluddin Rumi



Everything is the original law;
every day the morning sun
clears the sky,
in every mind there is no
separate mind.

In every place the pure wind
circles the earth.

If you can understand in this way,
then there is no need for Buddha
to appear in this world
or for Bodhidharma to come
from the west.


Daio (1235-1309)



A monk asked:
"Who is my Teacher?"

Chao Chou answered:
"Clouds are moving through the mountains -
Falling down in the valley, the water makes no noise."

The monk said:
"That's not what I asked."

Chao Chou said:
"The nature is your Teacher.
You just don't realize that."


Chao Chou



Meaning to get away from intellectualization
and avoid word traps, I sailed across the sea
to search for the transmission beyond the teachings.

Went on pilgrimages till my sandals broke
and found water in the clear stream,
the moon in the sky.


Kakua (1143-?)



The world?

Moonlit drops shaken

from the crane's bill.


Dogen (1200-1253)



Finding the universal in every particular,
whether coming or going,
they remain unmoving.

Finding silence which contains thoughts,
whatever they do
they hear the truth.


Hakuin (1685-1768)



It is not mind, not Buddha, not a thing.

What is it?


Nan Chuan



Deluded sentient beings do not know that their physical bodies,

along with the mountains and rivers and space

and the whole world outside them,

are all things within the wondrously

illuminated true mind.


The Buddha in the Shurangama Sutra



The myriad differences resolved by sitting,
all doors opened...

In this still place I follow my nature, be what it may.
From the one hundred flowers I wander freely.
The soaring cliff, my hall of meditation with the moon emerged:
the mind is motionless.


Reizan (~1411)



This is the Mind-seal of not one thing.

What is "not one thing?"

Mountains fresh and green,

water clear and flowing.


Yamaoka Tesshu (1830)



Who can say that the realm of Tao is far from us?

How tranquil it is - as at the beginning of Heaven and Earth.


Ni Tsan (1301-1374)



It depends on you.

If in your heart you make
A manger for his birth,
Then God will once again
Become a child on earth.


Angelus Silesius



Everything is Best

One day Banzan was walking through a market.
He overheard a customer say to the butcher:

"Give me the best piece of meat you have."
"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher.
"You can not find any piece of meat that is not the best."

At these words, Banzan was enlightened.


Kung an



My hut settled among neighbors,
I ignore the noise of horses and carts.

You ask how I get along:

My mind remains wide,
So my place is naturally remote.


Tao Yuan Ming (365-427)



Go beyond this way or that way,
to the farther shore where the world dissolves and everything becomes clear.

Beyond this shore and the farther shore,
beyond the beyond, where there is no beginning, no end,
without fear, go.


Buddha in the Dhammapada



Sitting in the monastery,

no-minded, like the moon in water,

making ten thousand exercises,

traceless, like illusory flowers.





One minute of sitting, one inch of Buddha.

Like lightning all thoughts come and pass.

Just once look into your mind-depths:

nothing else has ever been.


Manzan (1649-1709)



In the ocean of the holy Dharma
there is neither movement nor stillness.

The essence of the wave is like a mirror;
when something comes, the reflection appears.

When there is nothing in the mind,
wind and waves are both forgotten.





If you have not linked yourself

to true emptiness,

you will never understand.


Morihei Ueshiba



After the mind is clarified, when one sits,
it is like being on a solitary tall mountain
in the midst of a distant field.

Sitting on exposed ground at the top of the mountain,
gazing off into the distance on all four sides:
there are no limits.





Dew and the moon, stars and streams, snow on pine trees,

clouds hovering on the mountain peaks.

From darkness, they all become glowingly bright;

From obscurity, they all turn to resplendent light.

Infinite wonder permeates this serenity;

In this Reflection all intentional efforts vanish.


Hung Chih (1091-1157)



The mountain; Buddha's body.

The torrent; his preaching.

Last night, eighty-four thousand poems.

How, how to make them understand?


Sotobo (1036-1102)



Not twice this day

inch time foot gem.

This day will not come again.

Each minute is worth a priceless gem.





Original Face is the reality of realities:

stretch your hand to the winging bird.

Vertical nose, horizontal eyes - and then?

What if your mind is empty?


Tokugaku (15th Century)



Sixty-six times have these eyes

beheld the changing scene of autumn.

I have said enough about moonlight,

ask no more. Only listen to the voice

of pines and cedars when no wind stirs.


Ryonen (1797-1863)



God is a pure no-thing

concealed in now and here:

the more you reach for Him,

the less He will appear.


Angelus Silesius



There is a road to emptiness; everyone arrives.

Those who arrive then realize

the excellence of their aim.

The mind ground does not grow useless plants and trees;

naturally the body spontaneously radiates clear light.


Fa Yen's teacher



In spring, hundreds of flowers;

In autumn, a harvest moon;

In summer, a refreshing breeze;

In winter, snow will accompany you.

If useless things do not hang in your mind,

any season is a good season for you.





The great Path has no gates,

thousands of roads enter it.

When one passes through this gateless gate

he walks freely between heaven and earth.





The morning glory blooms but an hour.

Yet it differs not in heart

from a giant pine,

that lives for a thousand years.


Matsunaga Teitiku



In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

Now, what is the Word?


Catholic-Buddhist anonym



The birds have vanished into the sky,

and now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountain and me,

until only the mountain remains.


Li Po



The great Tao flows everywhere,

to the left and to the right.

All things depend upon it to exist,

and it does not abandon them.

To its accomplishments it lays no claim.

It loves and nourishes all things,

but does not lord it over them.





The body is the Bodhi tree,

The mind is like a clear mirror.

At all times we must strive to polish it,

And must not let the dust collect.


Shen-hsin (according to Hui Neng)


Bodhi originally has no tree

The mirror also has no stand.

Buddha nature is always clear and pure;

Where is there room for dust?


Hui Neng, the 6th Patriarch



Outwardly, all activities cease;

Inwardly, the mind stops its panting.

When one's mind has become a wall,

Then he may begin to enter the Tao.





You will see then that both your body and mind,

together with the mountains, rivers, space, and earth of the outward world,

are all within the wonderful, illumined, and true Mind.


Shurangama Sutra



When perfect stillness reigns, true Illumination is reached.

Since serene reflection includes all space

I can look back on the world again, which is filled with nothing but dreams!

Oh, today I really understand

How true and how faithful is the teaching of Buddha!


Han Shan



There is an adamantine Buddha Nature within the bodies of sentient beings.

Like the sun, it is essentially bright, perfect, and complete.

Although vast and limitless, it is merely covered

by the layered clouds of the five skandas.

Like a lamp inside a jar, its light cannot yet shine.


Sutra of the Ten Stages



If you work on your mind with your mind,

how canyou avoid a great confusion?

When the ten thousand things are seen as one,

we are back to the origin and stay where we have always been

Seng Ts'an



A master was asked the question, "What is the Way?" by a curious monk.?".

"It is right before your eyes," said the master.

"Why do I not see it for myself?"

"Because you are thinking of yourself."

"What about you: do you see it?"

"So long as you see double, saying 'I don't,' and

'you do,' and so on, your eyes are clouded," said the master.

"When there is neither 'I' nor 'you,' can one see it?"

"When there is neither 'I' nor 'you,' who is the one that wants to see it?"



The chief monk at the monastery was looking for someone

to replace him. He called the monks together and placed in front

of them a water bottle. He said, "Without calling this a water bottle,

tell me what it is."

One monk said, "You couldn't call it a block of wood."

Another poured himself a drink.

Just then the cook walked into the room and kicked the waterbottle over.< /P>

The cook was made head of the monastery.





A monk said to Chao Chou, "Your stone bridge is widely renowned,

but coming here I find only a heap of rocks."

Chao Chou said, "You see only the stones and not the bridge."

The monk said, "What is the bridge?"

Chao Chou said, "What do you think we are walking on?"



A monk asked Nan Chuan,

"Is there any great spiritual teaching that has not been preached to the people?"

Nan Chuan said, "There is."

"What is the truth that has not been taught?"

"Nothing," Nan Chuan replied.



If in this lifetime

You do not open your mind,

You cannot digest

Even one drop of water.





In original nature

There is no this and that

The Great Round Mirror

Has no likes or dislikes.





Wonderful, wonderfu!

There is no birth nor death to escape,

no supreme understanding

we need to strive for.





All living beings are Buddhas since the beginning.

It's like water and ice:

beyond water, no ice,

beyond living beings, no Buddha.


Hakuin (1685 - 1768)



Zen is like a cloud in the sky.

No screw can fix it,

no rope can keep it,

it moves the way it likes.

No abundant quantity of meditation

will keep zen in one place.


D. T. Suzuki



Let go what happened in the past,

stop craving what could be the future

is better than a ten years retreat.


Lin Chi