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Wise Words


Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.

Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity. Reduce selfishness, have few desires.
Lao Tzu

Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax. If you relax, it comes. If you relax, it is there. If you relax, you start vibrating with it.

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

Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?
Zen saying

Who is awake and who is asleep?

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
Ray Bradbury

To set up what you like against what you don’t like – this is the disease of the mind.

The life of Zen begins, therefore, in a disillusion with the pursuit of goals which do not really exist, the good without the bad, the gratification of a self which is no more than an idea, and the morrow which never comes.
Allan Watts

If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the experts mind there are few.
Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi

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.

Ride your horse along the edge of a sword; hide yourself in the middle of flames.
Zen saying

No seed ever sees the flower
Zen saying

Knock on the sky and listen to the sound
Zen Koan

A gloss on Descartes: Sometimes I think; and sometimes I am.
Paul Valery

Every situation, every moment is of infinite worth for it is representative of a whole eternity.
John W V Goethe

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
Zen saying

Listen to the song of life
Katherine Hepburn

In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.

Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.
Winston Churchill

The only difference between a wise man and a fool is that the wise man knows he is playing
Fritz Perls

For wayfarers of all times, the right strategy for skilfully spreading the Way lies in adapting to communicate. Those who do not know how to adapt stick to the letter and cling to doctrines, get stuck on forms and mired in sentiments – none of them succeed in strategic adaptation

All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Isaac Newton

Henry David Thoreau

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

If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.
Chinese proverb

Life is trying things to see if they work
Ray Bradbury

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
John Barrymore

If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
Mary Engelbreit

What worries you masters you

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay cantered by acceptance. This is the ultimate.
Chuang Tzu

It is not the outer objects that entangle us. It is the inner clinging that entangles us.

Your life is short. You have no clue when this ride will end. Stay present and live fearlessly.
Brenden Dilley

In the scenery of spring, nothing is better, nothing worse; the flowering branches are; some long, some short.

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul
Walt Whitman

Success is not greedy, as people think, but insignificant. That is why it satisfies nobody.

One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.
Bruce Lee

Evolution is neither random or determined, but creative.
Theodosius Grygorovych Dobzhansky

The Means to Recognize Beauty:
It is the radical transience of the world that makes it both tragic and beautiful, like the cherry blossom in Japanese aesthetics. The tragedy is that nothing actually exists; it is all passing away the instant it forms. The beauty is that we have the means to be aware of this, a moment to know the profound poignancy of this tiny corner of reality.
Andrew Olendzki, “This Moment Is Unique”

We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he’s a good man.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

You see things and say, “why?” but I dream things that never were and say, “why not?”
George Bernard Shaw

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.

It is a very great thing to be able to think as you like; but after all, an important question remains; what you think.
Matthew Arnold

What is of all things most yielding
Can overcome that which is most hard
Being substanceless, it can enter in
Even where there is no crevice.
That is how I know the value of
Action which is actionless
But that there can be teaching
without words
Value in action which is actionless
Few indeed can understand.
That the yielding conquers the resistant
And the soft conquers the hard
Is a fact known by all
But utilised by none
Lao Tzu

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
Chief Seattle

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

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now — when?

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.
Victor Frankl

Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.
T S Eliot

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that does.
Margaret Mead

For every worthwhile goal, perseverance furthers. Opportunities for the greatest practical and spiritual breakthroughs come when we have reached the absolute limits of our energies and abilities and somehow manage to push through. Perseverance requires equal parts commitment to purpose and detachment from results. Commitment to purpose keeps us moving forward into the attitudes and activities that serve to fulfil it. Detachment from results keeps us from becoming frustrated and discouraged when things don’t immediately work out as we had hoped. Perseverance then, is a balance of masculine and feminine energies, an aggressive forward thrust into activity and a patient, steady endurance.
Exhorting the value of consistent daily application, my Zen teacher would often say, one by one, day by day. Whether it is our spiritual training or the requirements of the creative process of doing and making, the temptation is always there to give up too easily or too soon. We tend to be greedy for results, overeager to arrive at our desired destination. It helps to remind ourselves that the means are the ends; the journey, the destination. As often as not, success comes to those who ignore their setbacks and simply refuse to give up.
Laurence Boldt, Zen Soup

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.
George Bernard Shaw

A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all, he is walking on them.
Leonard Louis Levinson

People wish to be settled. Only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Look at the sun. The sun is shining. Nobody polishes the sun. The sun just shines. Look at the moon, the sky, the world at its best. Unfortunately, we human beings try to fit everything into conditionality. We try to make something out of nothing. We have messed everything up. That’s our problem. We have to go back to the sun and the moon, to dragons, tigers, lions, garudas (mythical birds). We can be like the blue sky, sweethearts, and the clouds so clean, so beautiful. We don’t have to try too hard to find ourselves. We haven’t really lost anything; we just have to tune in. The majesty of the world is always there, always there, even from the simplest point of view.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him.
Lao Tzu

I think the way to solve the problem of procrastination is to let delight pull you instead of making a to-do list push you. Work on an ambitious project you really enjoy, and sail as close to the wind as you can, and you’ll leave the right things undone.
Paul Graham, Good and Bad Procrastination

The two great delusions are that life is controllable and that there is an entity, me, who can exercise said control. But if we cannot even control the thoughts that appear to us, how can we possibly believe we can control what occurs to us?
Wu Hsin

It is quality rather than quantity that matter, but without quantity, you might not get to quality – on ideas and innovation

Him I call a brahmana, who, like the moon (in a cloudless sky), is pure, clear and serene, and in whom craving for existence is extinct.

You can’t even trade a single fart with the next guy. Each and every one of us has to live out his own life. Don’t waste time thinking about who’s most talented.
Kodo Sawaki

When we look with the “I” we dream.
When we look for the “I” we awaken.

Attitude is everything. Timing is everything else. Right attitude with right timing is an invincible combination. But how do we know if the timing is right? Rarely we can, unless in hindsight. So always veer on the side of having the right attitude, because our attitude is in our control, while right timing is a chance. What’s right attitude? Remember that humility always pays and arrogance doesn’t (ok! not always but maybe 99% of the time). When we mix that humility with the right dose of elegance, mindfulness, sincerity and genuine concern for people, we can rarely go wrong. It doesn’t matter if we lose a few battles, in our quest to win the correct war. Right timing may win us a battle, but right attitude will always win us the war. The true war is within us, against our own fear and self-doubt. Fear is the number one thing that holds us back from what we want to do. We would never know if we don’t try. There is no shame in trying and failing, but only hopelessness if we don’t even try. To try relentlessly and fight for our own passion is the winning attitude. To wait for the right time is not.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The way of the minimalist: remove until it breaks.

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence
Christopher Hitchens

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks in Education through Recreation, 1932

Zen pretty much comes down to three things — everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.
Jane Hirshfield

When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love. And between these two, my life flows.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

All pilgrimages are internal.
Gail Gutradt

What you seek is seeking you

Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask
Tim Ferris

2 thoughts on “Wise Words

  1. Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax. If you relax, it comes. If you relax, it is there. If you relax, you start vibrating with it.

    This puts into words precisely what I’ve experienced/lived during this lockdown. Love it.

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