The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Zen Proverbs


If click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to a website containing proverbs from many different cultures.

The instant you speak about a thing, you miss the mark.

If you're attached to anything, you surely will go far astray.

Only the crystal-clear question yields a transparent answer.

All of the significant battles are waged within the self.

Life is the only thing worth living for.

Better to sit all night than to go to bed with a dragon.

Live every day like your hair was on fire.

If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

When you get to the top of the mountain, keep climbing.

The mind should be as a mirror.

There is nothing infinite apart from finite things.

Everyday life is the way.

Great Faith. Great Doubt. Great Effort. - The three qualities necessary for training.

If you do not get it from yourself, Where will you go for it?

Do not permit the events of your daily life to bind you, but never withdraw yourself from them.

Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening, no doubt, no awakening.

Sitting peacefully doing nothing Spring comes and the grass grows all by itself.

Everything the same; everything distinct.

Lovely snowflakes, they fall nowhere else!

Chop wood, carry water.

Possessing much knowledge is like having a thousand foot fishing line with a hook, but the fish is always an inch beyond the hook.

A noble heart never forces itself forward. Its words are as rare gems, seldom displayed and of great value.

If you meet on the way a man who knows, Don't speak a word -- Don't keep silent!

Even a good thing isn't as good as nothing.

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.
Basho

An autumn night... don't think your life didn't matter.
Basho

At any given moment, I open my eyes and exist. And before that, during all eternity, what was there? Nothing.
Ugo Betti

The torch of doubt and chaos, this is what the sage steers by.
Chuang-tzu

It is everywhere.
Chuang-tzu

To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
Chuang-Tzu

If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
Dogen

Zazen is itself enlightenment.
Dogen

The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.
Dogen

There is no beginning to practice nor end to enlightenment; There is no beginning to enlightenment nor end to practice.
Dogen

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
T.S. Eliot

When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are not enough.

When you have realized understanding, even one word is too much.
Fen-Yang

Should you desire great tranquility, prepare to sweat white beads.
Hakuin

Zen: Seeing into one's own nature.
Hui-neng

How do you step from the top of a 100-foot pole?
koan

It is better to practice a little than talk a lot.
Muso Kokushi

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.
Lao Tzu

Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Have few desires.
Lao Tzu

So little time, so little to do.
Oscar Levant

The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.
Robert M. Pirsig

The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there.
Yasutani Roshi

The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
Baba Ram Dass

Natural and super-natural, temporal and eternal - continuums, not absolutes.
Albert Schweitzer (paraphrase)

You must neither strive for truth nor seek to lose your illusions.
The Shodoka

We have two eyes to see two sides of things, but there must be a third eye which will see everything at the same time and yet not see anything. That is to understand Zen.
D. T. Suzuki

As long as you seek for something, you will get the shadow of reality and not reality itself. Shunryu Suzuki

Zen is not some kind of excitement, but merely concentration on our usual everyday routine.
Shunkyu Suzuki

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few.
Shunryu Suzuki

The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet.
Shunryu Suzuki

Life is like stepping onto a boat that is about to sail out to sea and sink.
Shunryu Suzuki

My heart burns like fire but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes.
Sayen Shaku

To set up what you like against what you don't like -- this is the disease of the mind.
Sheng-ts'an

No yesterday, no tomorrow, and no today.
Sheng-ts'an

Don't seek reality, just put an end to opinions.
Sheng-ts'an

When you get there, there isn't any there there.
Gertrude Stein

Water which is too pure has no fish.
Ts'ai Ken T'an

Let the dead bury the dead.
Western Koan

What does mysticism mean? It means the way to attain knowledge. It's close to philosophy, except in philosophy you go horizontally while in mysticism you go vertically.Elie Wiesel

Since it is all too clearIt takes time to grasp it.When you understand that it's foolish to look for fire with fire,The meal is already cooked.
Wu-men

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