Quote Garden

An art of any kind is a discipline, not only a craft--that too--but a discipline in the religious sense, in which the vigil of waiting, the creation of a receptive spiritual emptiness, and the denial of self all play their part.
    --Margaret Atwood

It's not the precious but the semiprecious one has to resist.
    --James Merrill

This is what you should do: Love the earth and sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people . . . reexamine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, dismiss what insults your very soul, and your flesh shall become a great poem.
     --Walt Whitman

Consider the actions of Te-shan, that ancient sage of the Tang dynasty.  In years past, he had always regarded as priceless his scholarly written commentaries on the Diamond Sutra.  After satori, he burned them all.  He had a simple explanation for his act: "However deep your knowledge of abstruse philosophy, it is like a piece of hair placed in the vastness of space; and however important your experience in things worldly, it is like a drop of water thrown into an unfathomable abyss."
    --James H. Austin, Zen and the Brain

Our whole business in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen.
    --Saint Augustine

I'd like to write something that comes from things the way wine comes from grapes.
    --Walter Benjamin, "Egon Wissing: Protocol of the Experiment of March 7, 1931"

The most frequent notation in my notebook is one that Joseph Goldstein often repeats when he is giving meditation instruction.  I have variations of it dating back thirty years.  In its simplest form it goes something like this: 'It's not what we are feeling that's important but how we relate to it that matters.'
    --Mark Epstein, Thoughts Without a Thinker

The Master is Within.
    --Ramana Maharshi

What can we writers learn from lizards, lift from birds?  In quickness is truth.  The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are.  In hesitation is thought.  In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth deadfalling or tiger-trapping.
    --Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity

The intellectual life may be kept clean and healthful, if man will live the life of nature and not import into his mind difficulties which are none of his.
    --Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Spiritual Laws"

The "secret" of life that we are all looking for is just this: to develop through sitting and daily life practice the power and courage to return to that which we have spent a lifetime hiding from, to rest in the bodily experience of the present moment--even if it is a feeling of being humiliated, of failing, of abandonment, of unfairness.
     --Pema Chondron, The Places that Scare You

Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of a universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit.
    --William James

Our universe is a universe of relationships; you cannot separate any part from the others.  Your life is the sum of its relationships.  It is not the particular art or style that is important, but the spirit that develops from its practice.  If you are narrowly attached to one art, your spirit will become enslaved to that art.  For a full understanding you must have a vision that expands enough to encompass all others.
     --Mitsugi Saotome, Aikido and the Harmony of Nature

What is the work of works for man if not to establish, in and by each one of us, an absolutely original center in which the universe reflects itself in a unique an inimitable way?
    --Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man

Our tendency is to think that when we can name something, fit it into our system, describe it, then we understand it.  That is largely how our academic education functions.  That is how we make it through college and, quite often, it is how we attempt to get through life.  We regurgitate what we've swallowed.  That rote playback is too frequently regarded as an actual test of understanding.  How do you go beyond that?  How do we go beyond the words and ideas that describe reality and directly experience the reality itself?  We spend a lifetime honing and perfecting the aspect of consciousness that is linear and sequential.  Overpowered by words, ideas, positions, and understanding, the intuitive aspect of human consciousness is all but forgotten.  But when the mind settles down and we stop talking to ourselves, this aspect of consciousness begins to open up.  And nature is a wonderful place for that to happen.  Nature is not logical.  It's not predictable.  It's not really understandable.  We can categorize and analyze it, but that is not what nature is really about.  A descritipn of nature is no more the thing itself than descriptions of ourselves are what the self is really about.
     --John Daido Loori, Two Arrows Meeting in Mid-Air

Is death in hell more death than death in heaven?
     --Wallace Stevens

 When art becomes earnest, loneliness appears, serenity appears, strangeness appears; if it doesn't go that far, it's a lie.
     --Taneda Santoka, The Art of Twentieth-Century Zen (by Audrey Yoshiko Seo with Stephen Addiss)

Science prospers exactly in proportion as it is religious; and religion flourishes in exact proportion to the scientific depth and firmness of its bases
     --Thomas H. Huxley

As an experience of freedom, awakening does not provide us with a set of ready-made ideas or images--let alone philosophical or religious doctrines.  By its very nature it is free from the constraints of preconceived ideas, images, and doctrines.  It offers no answers, only the possibility of new beginnings.  In expressing it we no more translate concealed esoteric knowledge into wise utterances than a writer transposes fully formed sentences hidden in his mind onto paper.
    --Stephen Batchelor, Buddhism Without Beliefs

"The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will."
     --William James

All our lives we rely on the great minds and on the so-called old masters, Reger said, and then we are mortally disappointed by them because they do not fulfill their purpose at the crucial moment.  We hoard the great minds and the old masters and we believe that at the crucial moment of survival we can use them for our purposes, which means nothing other than misusing them for our purposes, which turns out to be a fatal mistake.  We fill our mental strong-room with these great minds and old masters and resort to them at the crucial moment in our lives; but when we unlock our mental strong-room it is empty, that is the truth, we stand before that empty strong-room and find that we are alone and in fact totally destitute, Reger said.
     --Thomas Bernhard, Old Masters

If you spend your life in the safety of a cave at the foot of the mountains, you will see only darkness. Your experience will be narrow, and you will never feel the sweet pain of growth. You must leave that protection and security and challenge yourself on the mountains above you. You must climb higher and higher, your vision, ability, and experience expanding with each peak. And as you stand open and unprotected from the wind, with the sun and the snow touching your heart, you will experience the grand panorama of the universe all around you.

    --Mitsugi Saotome, Aikido and the Harmony of Nature

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