The Best of the Zen Quotes



Happiness is possible when you are capable of doing
the things and being the things you want to do and
to be. When we walk for the sake of walking, when
we sit for the sake of sitting, when we drink for
the sake of drinking tea, we don't do it for some-
thing or someone else. Awakening means to see that
truth - that you want to know how to enjoy, how to
live deeply, in a very simple way. You don't want
to waste your time anymore. Cherish the time that
you are given.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Violet Buddha

No question is so difficult to answer as that
to which the answer is obvious.
George Bernard Shaw

Zen has no gates. The purpose of Buddha's words is
to enlighten others. Therefore Zen should be gate-
less. But, how does one pass through the gateless gate?
Mumon

The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly
observed, will set off a revolution.
Paul Cezanne
There ain't no answer. There ain't gonna
be any answer. There never has been an answer.
There's the answer.
Gertrude Stein

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly
understood; an inconvenience is only an adven-
ture wrongly considered.
G. K. Chesterton

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of
the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men
are afraid of the light.
Plato

If you don’t find God in the next person you meet,
it’s a waste of time looking for him further.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
Buddha Family
Compassion
Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart,
to be truly loving and compassionate, means that
we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us,
to smile and let anyone do what they want with us.
Yet this is not what is meant by compassion. Quite
the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is
the strength that arises out of seeing the true
nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows
us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it
is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows
us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act
strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop
this mind state of compassion...is to learn to live,
as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living
beings, without exception.
Sharon Salzberg
Tibetan Prayer
Grant that I may be given appropriate difficulties
and sufferings on this journey so that my heart may
be truly awakened and my practice of liberation and
universal compassion may be truly fulfilled.
Tibetan Prayer of Making Difficulties Into the Path

Empty, empty! Happy, happy!
Ajahn Jumnien

Trust only movement.
Life happens at the level of events not of words.
Trust movement.
Alfred Adler

Habit, laziness, and fear conspire to keep us
comfortably within the familiar.
Jane Hirshfield
Po Tai
Green Tara

When people start to mediate or to work with any
kind of spiritual discipline, the often think that
somehow they're going to improve, which is a sort of
subtle aggression against who they really are. It's
a bit like saying, "If I jog, I'll be a much better
person." "If I could only get a nicer house, I'd be
a better person."If I could meditate and calm down,
I'd be a better person."... But loving-kindness--
maitri--toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid
of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy
after all these years. We can still be angry after
all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or
full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to
try to throw ourselves away and become something better.
It's about befriending who we are already. The ground
of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now,
just as we are. That's the ground, that's what we study,
that's what we come to know with tremendous curiosity
and interest.
Pema Chodron
May you trails be crooked, winding, lonesome,
dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
Edward Abbey

Nothing is permanent:
The sun and the moon rise and then set,
The bright clear day is followed by the deep, dark night.
From hour to hour, everything changes.
Kalu Rinpoche

The best things in life are nearest. Breath in your
nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.
Robert Louis Stevenson

All the harm, fear, and suffering in the world are
caused by attachment to the self: Why should I hold
on to this great demon?
Shantideva
Green Tara
Lotus

Imagine how it might feel to suspend all your
judging and instead to let each moment be just
as it is, without attempting to evaluate it as
"good" or "bad." This would be a true stillness,
a true liberation. Meditation means cultivating
a non-judging attitude toward what comes up in the
mind, come what may.
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small it
takes time—we haven’t time—and to see takes time,
like to have a friend takes time.
Georgia O’Keeffe

It is our mind, and that alone, that chains us
or sets us free.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The near-enemy of love is attachment.
Attachment masquerades as love. It says, "I will
love you if you will love me back." It is a kind
of "businessman's" love. So we think, "I will love
this person as long as he doesn't change. I will
love that thing if it will be the way I want it."
But this isn't love at all--it is attachment. There
is a big difference between love, which allows and
honors and appreciates, and attachment, which grasps
and demands and aims to possess. When attachment
becomes confused with love, it actually separates us
from another person. We feel we need this other
person in order to be happy. This quality of attach-
ment also leads us to offer love only toward certain
people, excluding others.
Joseph Goldstein
Chroma Gaia
Prayer

To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter...
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring -
these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
John Burroughs

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
Rumi

I should never have made my success in life if I had
not bestowed upon the least thing I have ever under-
taken the same attention and care I have bestowed
upon the greatest.
Charles Dickens

I know what I have given you.
I do not know what you have received.
Antonio Porchia

What Happens to Most Pieces of Truth
One day Mara, the Buddhist god of ignorance and
evil, was traveling through the villages of India
with his attendants. He saw a man doing walking
meditation whose face was lit up in wonder. The
man had just discovered something on the ground
in front of him. Mara's attendants asked what that
was and Mara replied, "A piece of truth." "Doesn't
this bother you when someone finds a piece of the
truth, O evil one?" his attendants asked. "No,"
Mara replied. "Right after this they usually make
a belief out of it."
Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield
Smiling Dragon
Medusa

When we look back on this life, we see that
when people are born, no one has thoughts of joy,
sadness, hatred, bitterness. Are we not born with
the state of Buddha mind, given by our parents?
But once intelligence develops, we learn habits
from others, and our own personal mental habits
emerge, and the Buddha mind is turned into a
monster because of self-importance. We argue,
lose our temper, muse over useless things, repeat
the same thoughts again and again....It is darkness
to darkness in an endless cycle.
Bankei


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