"Our understanding of Buddhism is not just an intellectual understanding. True understanding is actual practice itself."
"Our tendency is to be interested in something that is growing in the garden, not in the bare soil itself. But if you want to have a good harvest, the most important thing is to make the soil rich and cultivate it well."
"So the secret is just to say 'Yes!' and jump off from here. Then there is no problem. It means to be yourself, always yourself, without sticking to an old self."
"Zazen practice is the direct expression of our true nature. Strictly speaking, for a human being, there is no other practice than this practice; there is no other way of life than this way of life.
"Take care of things, and they will take care of you."
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few."
"Life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact, we have no fear of death anymore, nor actual difficulty in our life."
"As soon as you see something, you already start to intellectualize it. As soon as you intellectualize something, it is no longer what you saw."
"Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer."
True nature is watching water. When you say, "My zazen is very poor," here you have true nature, but foolishly you do not realize it. You ignore it on purpose. There is immense importance in the "I " with which you watch your mind. That I is not the "big I"; it is the "I" which is incessantly active, always swimming, always flying through the vast air with wings. By wings I mean thought and activity. The vast sky is home, my home. There is no bird or air. When the fish swims, water and fish are the fish. There is nothing but fish. Do you understand?
We must have beginner's mind, free from possessing anything, a mind that knows everything is in flowing change. Nothing exists but momentarily in its present form and color. One thing flows into another and cannot be grasped. Before the rain stops we hear a bird. Even under the heavy snow we see snowdrops and some new growth. In the East I saw rhubarb already. In Japan in the spring we eat cucumbers.
This is the same concept that is communicated in the line from the Shakespearean play, "Romeo and Juliet": "What's in a name? That which we call a rose/by any other name would smell as sweet."
- If my twelve-year-old self, of whom I had grown rather fond, thinking about him, were to reproach
me: ‘Why have you grown up such a dull dog, when I gave you such a good start? Why have you spent your time in dusty libraries, cataloguing other people’s books instead of writing your own? What has become of Ram, the Bull, and the Lion, the example I have you to emulate? Where above all is the Virgin, with her shining face and long curling tresses, whom I entrusted to you’ – what should I say?
I should have an answer ready. ‘Well, it was you who let me down, and I will tell you how. You flew too near the sun, and you were scorched. This cindery creature is what you made me.- My mother was mistaken if she thought I gloated over their downfall; it was the rise in my own stock that enlarged my spirit.When Leo moves quarters in Brandham Hall.- It was a very small room, almost a cell: and the bed so narrow it could only be meant for one person. My things were all there, my hair brushes, my red collar-box; but all in different places and looking different: and I felt different too. I tiptoed about, as though exploring a new personality. Whether I was more or less than I had been, I couldn’t decide: but I felt I was cast for a new role.- And without my being aware of it, the climate of my emotions had undergone a change. I was no longer satisfied with the small change of experience which has hitherto contented me. I wanted to deal in larger sums.- He had very little to laugh about, I thought, and yet he laughed. … I felt he had some inner strength of reserve which no reverse, however serious, would break down.- How everything else had been diminished by it and drained of quality! – for it was a standard of comparison that dwarfed other things. Its colours were brighter, its voice louder, its power of attraction infinitely greater. It was a parasite of emotions. Nothing else could live with it or have an independent existence while it was there. It created a desert, it wouldn’t share with anyone or anything, it wanted all the attention for itself. And being a secret it contributed to nothing to our daily life; it could no more be discussed than some shameful illness.