Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

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 ~

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Training Quotes

"Begin at the beginning,” the King said, gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
Lewis Carroll

"This present continuous practice is nothing other than just that, just committing oneself to continuous practice for no other reason than to practice continuously."
-Dogen in "Continuous Practice" (Translation by Francis Dojun Cook in the book "How To Raise an Ox")

"Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you."

Dogen writes: "Time flies like an arrow from a bow and this fact should make us train with all our might, using the same energy we would employ if our hair were to catch fire.”

“The heart of the study of boxing is to have natural instinct resemble the dragon.”
Wang Xiang Zhai

Fish traps are for catching fish. When you've caught the fish, you can forget about the fish trap. Rabbit snares are for catching rabbits. When you've caught the rabbit, you can forget about the snare. Words are for catching ideas. When you've caught the idea, you can forget about the words.
ZhuangZi Chapter 26

“Philosophy practiced is the goal of learning.”

“One should clean out a room in one's home
and place only a tea table and a chair in the room
with some boiled water and fragrant tea.
Afterwards, sit solitarily and
allow one's spirit to become tranquil, light, and natural.”

Li Ri Hua, a Ming Dynasty scholar

In your meditation you yourself are the mirror reflecting the solution of your problems. The human mind has absolute freedom within its true nature. You can attain your freedom intuitively. Do not work for freedom, rather allow the practice itself to be liberation.
-“The Practice of Meditation,” Zen Master Dogen

Small movement is better than big movement. No movement is better than small movement.
- Wang Xiang Zhai

Producing a feeling with a fixed method
Giving up the method after getting the feeling
Letting the feeling follow into everything
Personal feeling leads to complete awareness

Han Jing Yu

"Know yourself; do your best; don't overdo; make progress every day."
- Jou Tsung-Hwa

“ … It would be a very different, though, if you were to climb on the Way and it’s Virtue and go drifting and wandering, neither praised nor damned, now a dragon, now a snake, shifting with the times, never willing to hold one course only.”
Zhuang Zi (Watson)

A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.

Zen Master Dogen

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

From The Way of Chuang Tzu, by Thomas Merton

The Fighting Cock

Chi Hsing Tzu was a trainer of fighting cocks
For King Hsuan.
He was training a fine bird.
The King kept asking if the bird was
Ready for combat.
"Not yet," said the trainer.
"He is full of fire.
He is ready to pick a fight
With every other bird. He is vain and confident
Of his own strength."
After ten days, he answered again:
"Not yet. He flares up
When he hears another bird crow."
After ten more days:
"Not yet. He still gets
That angry look
And ruffles his feathers."
Again ten days:
The trainer said, "Now he is nearly ready.
When another bird crows, his eye
Does not even flicker.
He stands immobile
Like a cock of wood.
He is a mature fighter.
Other birds
Will take one look at him
And run."

“Cook Ding was cutting up an ox for Lord Wen-hui. At every touch of his hand, every heave of his shoulder, every move of his feet, every thrust of his knee-zip! zoop! He slithered the knife along with a zing, and all was in perfect rhythm, as though he were performing the dance of the Mulberry Grove or keeping time to the Ching-shou music. ...
"Cook Ding laid down his knife and [said], 'What I care about is the Way, which goes beyond all skill. When I first began cutting up oxen, all I could see was the ox itself. After three years I no longer saw the whole ox. And now-now I go at it by spirit and don't look with my eyes. Perception and understanding have come to a stop and spirit moves where it wants. I go along with the natural makeup, strike in the big hollows, guide the knife through the big openings, and follow things as they are. So I never touch the smallest ligament or tendon, much less a main joint.
"A good cook changes his knife once a year-because he cuts. A mediocre cook changes his knife once a month-because he hacks. I've had this knife of mine for nineteen years and I've cut up thousands of oxen with it, and yet the blade is as good as though it had just come from the grindstone. There are spaces between the joints, and the blade of the knife has really no thickness. If you insert what has no thickness into such spaces, then there's plenty of room-more than enough for the blade to play about it. That's why after nineteen years the blade of my knife is still as good as when it first came from the grindstone."

- ZhaungZi

"Do not believe in anything merely because it is said,
nor in traditions because they have been handed down from antiquity:
nor in rumors as such: nor in writings by sages because sages wrote them:
nor in fancies that we may suspect to have been inspired in us by a Deva:
nor in inferences drawn from some haphazard assumption we have made:
nor in what seems to be an analogical neccessity:
nor in the mere authority of our teachers and masters.Believe when the writing, doctrine, or saying is corroborated byreason and consciousness." –Buddha

Here is one definition of Zen:

"True Zen consists of sitting quietly in the correct posture. It is not a special state, it is the normal state: silent, peaceful, without agitation.

Zen means to put the mind at rest and to concentrate the mind and body. In zazen there is no purpose, no seeking to gain something, no special effort or imagination. It is not knowledge to be grasped by the brain. It is solely a practice, a practice which is the true gate to happiness, peace and freedom."

--Taisen Deshimaru Roshi

"Practice is not easy. It WILL transform our life. But if we have a naive idea that this transformation can take place without a price being paid, we fool ourselves. Don't practice unless you feel there's nothing else you can do. Instead, step up your surfing or your physics or your music. If that satisfies you, do it. Don't practice unless you feel you must. It takes enormous courage to have a real practice. You have to face everything about yourself hidden in that box, including some unpleasant things you don't even want to know about."
--Charlotte Joko Beck

"...Slowly, in spite of ourselves, we begin to be interested in what practice really is, as opposed to our ideas of what we think it should be.The point of practice is exactly this clashing space in which my desires for my personal immortality, my own glorification, my own control of the universe, clash with what is."
~ Charlotte Joko Beck

Do not be concerned with who is wise and who is stupid. Do not discriminate the sharp from the dull. To practice whole-heartedly is the true endeavor of the way. Practice-realization is not defiled with specialness; it is a matter for every day.
- Dogen (1200-1253)

Surrender. Without losing yourself by sticking to a particular rule or understanding, keep finding yourself, moment after moment. This is the only thing for you to do.
(pp. 75-76, "Finding Out for Yourself," in "not always so, practicing the true spirit of Zen", by Shunryu Suzuki)

"A year of practice is made of many days of practice. If you lose the days, then you lose the years."

To practice is easy. To become one who practices, is not.

"Mastery is not something that strikes in an instant, like a thunderbolt; But a gathering power that moves through time, like weather."

"A Master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations."
---Patricia Neal

"I am what I am because I have practiced the basics for 60 years."
Ueyshiba Sensei, founder of Aikido

"When you like what you are doing, it's easy."
Beverly Sills

"I arrive for rehersal so totally prepared, the work is effortless."
Beverly Sills

"As you grow more relaxed, you become less afraid. As you become less afraid you grow more relaxed."
- Professor Cheng Man-ching

Discipline is remembering what you want.
Without the winter, there would be no spring.
- Takashi Kushida

Hold on to the hard things, and your mind will open.
- Takashi Kushida

The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Rest when you’re tired.
- Andrzej Kalisz

The hardest thing to change is your own mind.
- Rick Matz

Understand the changes.
Know the season.
Look at the bigger picture.
- Rick Matz

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