Nobody today is normal, everybody is a little bit crazy or unbalanced, people’s minds are running all the time. Their perceptions of the world are partial, incomplete. They are eaten alive by their egos. They think they see, but they are mistaken; all they do is project their madness, their world, upon the world. There is no clarity, no wisdom in that!
Human beings are afraid of dying. They are always running after something: money, honor, and pleasure. But if you had to die now, what would you want?
Think with your whole body.
Behavior influences consciousness. Right behavior means right consciousness. Our attitude here and now influences the entire environment: our words, actions, ways of holding and moving ourselves, they all influence what happens around us and inside us. The actions of every instant, every day, must be right…Every gesture is important. How we eat, how we put on our clothes, how we wash ourselves, how we go to the toilet, how we put our things away, how we act with other people, family, wife, work – how we are: totally, in every single gesture.
To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and give.
The body moves naturally, automatically, without any personal intervention or awareness. If we think too much, our actions become slow and hesitant.
You must concentrate upon and consecrate yourself wholly to each day, as though a fire were raging in your hair.
Zen is not a particular state but the normal state: silent, peaceful, unagitated. In Zazen neither intention, analysis, specific effort nor imagination take place. It’s enough just to be without hypocrisy, dogmatism, arrogance – embracing all opposites.
If you are not happy here and now, you never will be.
Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” I say, “I do not think, that is why I exist.”
To practice Zen or the Martial Arts, you must live intensely, wholeheartedly, without reserve – as if you might die in the next instant
If you have a glass full of liquid you can discourse forever on its qualities, discuss whether it is cold, warm, whether it is really and truly composed of H-2-O, or even mineral water, or saki. Meditation is Drinking it!
Time is not a line, but a series of now-points.
You have to practice until you die.
In a fight between a strong technique and a strong body, technique will prevail. In a fight between a strong mind and a strong technique, mind will prevail, because it will find the weak point.
During zazen, brain and consciousness become pure. It’s exactly like muddy water left to stand in a glass. Little by little, the sediment sinks to the bottom and the water becomes pure.
You cannot separate any part from the whole: interdependence rules the cosmic order.
We feel our shell keeps us safe, but it crushes us and others, and keeps out light and sun.
Keep your hands open, and all the sands of the desert can pass through them. Close them, and all you can feel is a bit of grit.
What is called zazen is sitting on a zafu [pillow] in a quiet room, absolutely still, in the exact and proper position and without uttering a word, the mind empty of any thought, good or wicked. It is continuing to sit peacefully, facing a wall, and nothing more. Every day.
If we achieve satori and the satori shows, like a bit of dogshit stuck to the top of our nose, that is not so good.
The silence of the mountain is even more beautiful once the birds are quiet.
We should learn to think with our fingers.
Harmonizing opposites by going back to their source is the distinctive quality of the Zen attitude, the Middle Way: embracing contradictions, making a synthesis of them, achieving balance.
From your first day at school you are cut off from life to make theories.