We are always beginners in the art of compassion
The Buddha was joined by his own son, Rahula, a young boy. He advised him: “Cultivate Rahula, a meditation on loving-kindness, for by cultivating loving-kindness, ill will is banished forever. Cultivate, too, a meditation on compassion, for by cultivating compassion, you will find harm and cruelty disappear.”
Accept my words only when you have examined them for yourselves; do not accept them simply because of the reverence you have for me. Those who only have faith in me and affection for me will not find the final freedom. But those who have faith in the truth and are determined on the path, they will find awakening.
Everything good and bad comes from your own mind.
To find something beyond the mind is impossible.
If you want to be wisely selfish, care for others
Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.
If you do not get it from yourself, where will you go for it?
There is a large wooden block (Han) hanging outside of every meditation hall (Zendo) in Zen centres and monasteries around the world, upon which are inscribed words like these:
Great is the matter of birth and death
Life slips quickly by
Time waits for no one
Wake up! Wake up!
Don’t waste a moment
Death and grief are two messengers who call upon us to Wake up!
The aim of Zen is to focus the attention on reality itself, instead of on our intellectual and emotional reactions to reality – reality being the ever-changing, ever-growing, indefinable something known as ‘ life,’ which will never stop for a moment to fit it satisfactorily into any rigid system of pigeon-holes and ideas
Here in this body are the sacred rivers, here are the sun and moon, as well as the pilgrimage places. I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body
The perfect way is only difficult for those who pick and choose.
Do not like, do not dislike, all then will be clear.
Make a hairbreadth difference and Heaven and Earth are set apart.
If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or
against. The struggle between ‘ for ‘ and ‘ against ‘ is the mind’s worst disease.
On Trust in the Heart. Zen Text
I have done my best. That is about all the philosophy of living that one needs.
” I make progress,” said Yen Hui.
” Where ? ” said Confucius.
” I have forgotten about rites and music.”
” Satisfactory. But you still have far to go.”
Another day he saw Confucius again.
” I make progress.”
” Where ? “
” I have forgotten about goodwill and duty.”
” Satisfactory. But you still have far to go.”
Another day he saw Confucius again.
” I make progress.”
” Where ? “
” I just sit and forget.”
Confucius was taken aback.
” What do you mean you just sit and forget ? “
” I let organs and members drop away, dismiss
eyesight and hearing, part from the body and expel
Knowledge, and go along with the universal
thoroughfare. This is what I mean by ‘ just sit and forget.’ “
” If you go along with it you have no preferences;
if you let yourself transform, you have no norms.
Has it really turned out that you are the better
of us ? Oblige me by accepting me as your disciple.”
Chuang – Tzu. The Inner Chapters
Let the disciple cultivate love without measure towards all beings. Let him cultivate towards the whole world, above, below, around, a heart of love unstinted….For in all the world this state of heart is best.
There is a Parable that the Buddha told:
A man travelling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of a root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.
Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other….
HOW SWEET IT TASTED!
Kisagotami and the Buddha (Parable of the Mustard Seed)
A woman — dove-eyed, young, with tearful face
And lifted hands — saluted, bending low:
“Lord! thou art he”, she said, “who yesterday
Had pity on me in the fig-grove here,
Where I live lone and reared my child; but he
Straying amid the blossoms found a snake,
Which twined about his wrist, whilst he did laugh
And tease the quick forked tongue and opened mouth
Of that cold playmate. But, alas! ere long
He turned so pale and still, I could not think
Why he should cease to play, and let my breast
Fall from his lips. And one said, ‘He is sick
Of poison’; and another, ‘He will die.’
But I, who could not lose my precious boy,
Prayed of them physic, which might bring the light
Back to his eyes; it was so very small
That kiss-mark of the serpent, and I think
It could not hate him, gracious as he was,
Nor hurt him in his sport. And some one said,
‘There is a holy man upon the hill –
Lo! now he passeth in the yellow robe –
Ask of the Rishi if there be a cure
For that which ails thy son.’ Whereon I came
Trembling to thee, whose brow is like a god’s,
And wept and drew the face-cloth from my babe,
Praying thee tell what simples might be good.
And thou, great sir! didst spurn me not, but gaze
With gentle eyes and touch with patient hand;
Then draw the face-cloth back, saying to me,
‘Yea! little sister, there is that might heal
Thee first, and him, if thou couldst fetch the thing;
For they who seek physicians bring to them
What is ordained. Therefore, I pray thee, find
Black mustard seed, a tola; only mark
Thou take it not from any hand or house
Where father, mother, child, or slave hath died:
It shall be well if thou canst find such seed.’
Thus didst thou speak, my Lord”. The Master smiled
Exceeding tenderly. “Yea! I spake thus,
Dear Kisagotami! But didst thou find
The seed?” “I went, Lord, clasping to my breast
The babe, grown colder, asking at each hut –
Here in the jungle and towards the town –
‘I pray you, give me mustard, of your grace,
A tola — black’; and each who had it gave,
For all the poor are piteous to the poor;
But when I asked, ‘In my friend’s household here
Hath any peradventure ever died –
Husband or wife, or child, or slave?’ they said:
‘O Sister! what is this you ask? the dead
Are very many, and the living few!’
So with sad thanks I gave the mustard back,
And prayed of others; but the others said,
‘Here is the seed, but we have lost our slave!’
‘Here is the seed, but our good man is dead!’
‘Here is some seed, but he that sowed it died
Between the rain time and the harvesting!’
Ah, sir! I could not find a single house
Where there was mustard seed and none had died!
Therefore I left my child — who would not suck
Nor smile — beneath the wild vines by the stream,
To seek thy face and kiss thy feet, and pray
Where I might find this seed and find no death,
If now, indeed, my baby be not dead,
As I do fear, and as they said to me.”
“My sister! thou hast found,” the Master said,
“Searching for what none finds — that bitter balm
I had to give thee. He thou lovedst slept
Dead on thy bosom yesterday: today
Thou know’st the whole wide world weeps with thy woe:
The grief which all hearts share grows less for one.
Lo! I would pour my blood if it could stay
Thy tears and win the secret of that curse
Which makes sweet love our anguish, and which drives
O’er flowers and pastures to the sacrifice –
As these dumb beasts are driven — men their lords.
I seek that secret: bury thou thy child!”
Click here to see narrative on Kisagotami and her dead child.
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.” I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”. ” I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, ” Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
Make an island of yourself,
make yourself your refuge;
there is no other refuge.
Make truth your island,
make truth your refuge;
there is no other refuge.
Half the spiritual life consists of remembering
what we are up against and where we are going.
My religion is to live and die without regret.
By amending our mistakes, we get wisdom.
By defending our faults, we betray an unsound mind.
The Sutra of Hui Neng
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.
The Trust is not setting out to promote Buddhism per se, but aims to serve people of all religious persuasions, and none. We don’t see Buddhism as our destination, rather it is our point of departure for the growth of our hearts in service of whatever need we encounter, and in whatever way our hearts incline us to act, be it Buddhist or be it empty of ideological investment.
In Buddhism, mindfulness is the key. Mindfulness is the energy
that sheds light on all things and all activities, producing the power
of concentration, bringing forth deep insight and awakening.
Mindfulness is the base of Buddhist practice
THICH NHAT HANH
Accustomed long to contemplating love and compassion I have forgotten all difference between myself and others
The morning glory which blooms for an hour
Differs not at heart from the giant pine,
Which lives for a thousand years
My religion is very simple – my religion is kindness
The great Buddhist saint Nagarjuna moved around naked except for a loincloth and, incongruously, a golden begging bowl gifted to him by the King, who was his disciple. One night he was about to lie down to sleep among the ruins of an ancient monastery when he noticed a thief lurking behind one of the columns. ” Here, take this,” said Nagarjuna, holding out the golden begging bowl. ” That way you won’t disturb me once I have fallen asleep.” The thief eagerly grabbed the bowl and made off – only to return next morning with the bowl and a request. He said, ” When you gave this bowl so freely last night, you made me feel very poor. Please teach me how to acquire the riches that make this kind of lighthearted detachment possible.”
A Buddhist Story
Be a lantern to yourself and a refuge. Draw close to the light within yourself and seek no other shelter
Basically, the Buddhist attitude is that you should not accept certain things through sheer faith. And for that you need a skeptical attitude. Buddha himself made this clear to his followers. He said you should not accept those things I taught out of respect for me, but rather through investigation by yourself.
It is told that once Ananda, the beloved disciple of the Buddha,
saluted his master and said: “Half the holy life, O master, is
friendship with the beautiful, association with the beautiful,
communion with the beautiful”.
“Say not so, Ananda, say not so!” the master repied. “It is
not half of the holy life, It IS the holy life.”
The peculiar contribution of Taoism to the creation of the idle temperament lies in the recognition that there are no such things as luck and adversity. The great Taoist teaching is the emphasis on being over doing, character over achievement, and calm over action. But inner calm is only possible when man is not disturbed by the vicissitudes of fortune. The great Taoist philosopher LIEH TSE gave the famous parable of the OLD MAN AT THE FORT:
An old man was living with his son at an abandoned fort on top of a hill, and one day he lost his horse. The neighbours came to express their sympathy for his misfortune, and the old man asked” How do you know this is bad luck ? ” A few days afterwards, his horse returned with a number of wild horses, and his neighbours came again to congratulate him on his stroke of fortune, and the old man replied, ” How do you know this is good luck ? ” With so many horses around his son began to take to riding, and one day he broke his leg. Again the neighbours came around to express their sympathy, and the old man replied, ” How do you know this is bad luck ? ” The next year, there was a war, and because the old man’s son was crippled, he did not have to go to the front…….
THE GATELESS GATE
It can happen to you
In a flashing moment something opens.
You are new all through
You see the same un-same world with fresh eyes.
This universe – renewing power comes by grace, not logic,
Whatever you do or whatever you are seems to make little difference.
It doesn’t make sense. It makes YOU.
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
One kind word will keep you warm for three winters
If fortune smiles, who doesn’t? If fortune doesn’t, who does?