20 May 2008

Zen Proverbs

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


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


There is nothing you can see that is not a flower; there is nothing you can think that is

not the moon.


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.


It is everywhere.


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


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


Zazen is itself enlightenment.


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


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

enlightenment nor end to practice.


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.


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


Zen: Seeing into one's own nature.


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


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

Muso Kokushi

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao Tzu

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

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


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


Shunryu Suzuki

Zen is not some kind of excitement, but merely concentration on our usual everyday


Shunkyu Suzuki

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are


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.


No yesterday, no tomorrow, and no today.


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


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

Nothing is exactly as it seems, nor is it otherwise.

Alan Watts

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


Elie Wiesel

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.


Since it is all too clear

It takes time to grasp it.

When you understand that it's foolish to look for fire with fire,

The meal is already cooked.


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 no-thing.

This is not the Buddha, this is the Buddha.

Studying Zen, learning the way, is originally for the sake of birth and death, no other


What do I mean by other things? Arousing the mind and stirring thoughts right now;

having contrivance and artificiality; having grasping and rejecting; having practice

and realization; having purity and defilement; having sacred and profane; having

Buddhas and sentient beings; writing verses and songs, composing poems and odes;

discoursing on Zen and the way; discoursing on right and wrong; discoursing on past

and present.

These various activities are not relevant to the issue of birth and death; they are all

"other things".


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