The Way is beyond language,

for in it there is

no yesterday

no tomorrow

no today.


The perfect way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love
It reveals itself fully and without disguise;

A tenth of an inch’s difference,
And heaven and earth are set apart.
If you wish to see it before your own eyes
Have no fixed thoughts either for or against it.

To set up what you like against what you dislike -
That is the disease of the mind:
When the deep meaning (of the Way) is not understood,
Peace of mind is disturbed to no purpose.
The Way is perfect like unto vast space,
It is indeed due to making choice
That its Suchness is lost sight of.
Pursue not the outer entanglements,
Dwell not in the inner Void;
Be serene in the oneness of things,
And dualism vanishes by itself.
When you strive to gain quiescence by stopping motion,
The quiescence thus gained is ever in motion;
As long as you tarry in dualism,
How can you realize oneness?
And when oneness is not thoroughly understood,
In two ways loss is sustained:
The denying of reality is the asserting of it,
And the asserting of emptiness is the denying of it.
Wordliness and intellection -
The more with them, the farther astray we go:
Away, therefore, with wordliness and intellection,
and there is no place where we cannot pass freely.
When we return to the root, we gain the meaning;
When we pursue external objects we lose the reason.
The moment we are enlightened within,
We go beyond the voidness of a world confronting us.

Transformations going on in an empty world which confronts us
Appear real all because of ignorance:
Try not to seek after the true.
Only cease to cherish opinions.

Seng-T'san  (Sosan)

6th Century



Knowledge is learning someting every day. Wisdom is letting go of something everyday.- Zen Proveb

All the time I pray to buddha I keep on Killing mosquitoes. -Issa

Crescent moon - Bent to the shape Of the cold. -Issa

Insects on a bough Floating downriver, Still singing. -Issa

The butterfly sleeps well Perched on the temple bell ... Until it rings. -Buson

Sitting peacefully doing nothing Spring comes and the grass grows all by itself.

An autumn night - don't think your life didn't matter. -Basho

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet. -Frantz Kafka

To the mind that is still the whole universe surrenders. -Taoist ideal.

To what shall I compare this life of ours? Even before I can say it is like a lightning flash or a dewdrop it is no more. -Sengai

Zen: Seeing into one's own nature. -Hui-neng

An inch of time is an inch of gold: Treasure it. Appreciate its fleeting nature; misplaced gold is easily found, misspent time is lost forever. -Loy Ching-Yuen

We can hold back neither the coming of the flowers nor the downward rush of the stream; sooner or later, everything comes to its fruition. -Loy Ching-Yuen

Difficulties along the way are opportunities in disguise; they reflect your expectations. Facing them with surrender helps you follow a more peaceful and perceptive life. -Carl Abbott

Let us be respectfully reminded: Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by, and with it, our only chance. Each of us must aspire to awaken. Be aware. Do not squander our life. -Joko Beck.

Keep your heart clear and transparent And you will never be bound. A single disturbed thought, though, Creates ten thousand distractions. Let myriad things captivate you And you'll go further and further astray. How painful to see people All wrapped up in themselves. -Ryokan

I see people in the world Throw away their lives lusting after things, Never able to satisfy their desires, Falling into deep despair And torturing themselves. Even if they get what they want How long will they be able to enjoy it? For one heavenly pleasure They suffer ten torments of hell, Binding themselves more firmly to the grindstone. Such people are like monkeys Frantically grasping for the moon in the water And then falling into a whirlpool. How endlessly those caught up in the floating world suffer. -Ryokan

As for the people and affairs of the contemporary world, they hold no attraction for me. If in becoming a teacher one thinks only of wealth and honor and is not concerned about the importance of literature, it would be better if we had no teachers. If in being a friend one thinks only of power and profit and cares nothing about the frank exchange of opinions, it would be better if we had no friends. So I close my gate, shut my door, hum poems and sing songs by myself. Yoshishige no Yatsutane

We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine. -H. L. Mencken

" Standing in front of the smile on the face of a boiled pig's head by all means be as generous.

" Barn's burnt down - Now I can see the moon. Masahide

Past and future are illusions. They exist only in the present, which is what there is and all that there is. -Alan Watts

Don't seek reality, just put an end to opinions. -Sheng-ts'an

The secret of seeing things as they are is to take off our colored spectacles. That being-as-it-is, with nothing extraordinary about it, nothing wonderful, is the great wonder. The ability to see things normally is no small thing; to be really normal is the unusual. In that normality begins to bubble up inspiration. -Master Sessan

In the scenery of spring, nothing is better, nothing worse; The flowering branches are of themselves, some short, some long. -Zen anon.

To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle. -George Orwell

Zen master: "Who binds you?" The seeker of liberty: "No one binds me." Zen master: "Then why seek liberation?" -zen mondo

Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. -Georgia O'Keefe

Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end. -Krishnamurti

How shall I grasp it? Do not grasp it. That which remains when there is no more grasping is the Self. -Panchadasi

Break the legs of what I want to happen. Humiliate my desire. Eat me like candy. It is spring and finally I have no will. -Rumi

Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown. -Claude Bernard

How do you step from the top of a 100-foot pole? -zen koan

Be a spot on the ground where nothing is growing, where something might be planted, a seed, from the Absolute. -Rumi

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. -Lao Tzu

A primary aim of Zen is the uncovering of what is known as inherent knowledge. This is not the kind of knowledge that is produced by thinking based on conditioned consciousness. It is said that the ignorant are obstructed by ignorance, while intellectuals are obstructed by intellectual knowledge. One way of getting past these obstacles and approaching inherent knowledge is to let go of whatever comes to mind. -Muso Kokushi

Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity. -Lao Tzu

When I hear I see, when I see I hear. -Zen koan

If you try to aim for it, you are turning away from it. -Zen master.

"Did you have a happy childhood?" is a false question. As a child I did not know what happiness was, and whether I was happy or not. I was too busy being. -Alistair Reed.

If you wish to drown, do not torture yourself with shallow water. -Bulgarian Proverb

This matter, zen, is like a great mass of fire; when you approach it your face is sure to be scorched. It is again like a sword about to be drawn; when it is once out of the scabbard, someone is sure to lose his life. But of you neither fling away the scabbard nor approach the fire, you are no better than a piece of rock or of wood. Coming to this pass, one has to be quite a resolute character, full of spirit. -Tai-hui

Ears hear and eyes see, What then does mind do? -zen saying

If all the waves of the Zen stream were alike, innumerable ordinary people would get bogged down -zen saying

Refraining from all evil, not clinging to birth and death, working in deep compassion for all sentinent beings, respecting those over you and pitying those below you, without any detesting or desiring, worrying or lamentation - this is what is called Buddha. Do not search beyond it. -Dogen

Being is what it is. -Satre

Zen is a way of liberation, concerned not with discovering what is good or bad or advantageous, but what is. -Alan Watts

If you do not get it from yourself, Where will you go for it? -Zen saying

It is a characteristic tendency of human beings to indulge in emotions such as happiness, grief, or anger in response to present conditions, failing to balance these feelings with the awareness that present conditions are the results of past causes. It is illogical to face the present only as an object of enjoyment or tolerance, neglecting to use it as the opportunity to create the future. -Muso Kokushi

Being is what it is. -Satre

You must neither strive for truth nor seek to lose your illusions. -The Shodoka

Death is the sum of what it steals from us. -from the film *All the Mornings in the World*

It is there, right where you are; If you seek it, obviously you do not see it. -Muso Kokushi

Worldly Feelings Attraction and aversion are two feelings that keep people within the bondage of ignorant repetative behavior. Those who seek only what pleases them and try to avoid what displeases them are acting in this way because they do not realize the nature of the world. For those who know the nature of the world, lack of complete satisfaction or fulfillment in things of the world is in itself advice to cultivate detachment. If people do not crave to be pleased, they will not be displeased. What causes mental suffering is not the environment itself but the mind itself.

-Muso Kokushi

So little time, so little to do. -Oscar Levant

If you want to tell me that the stars are not words, then stop calling them stars. -Jack Kerouac

No yesterday, no tomorrow, and no today. -Sheng-Ts'an

Sit Rest Work. Alone with yourself, Never weary. On the edge of the forest Live joyfully, Without desire. -The Buddha

Strong drink, fat meat, and spicy dishes are not really flavorful; true flavor is delicate. -Huanchu Daoren

Calm in quietude is not real calm; when you can be calm in the midst of activity, this is the true state of nature. Happiness in comfort is not real happiness; when you can be happy in the midst of hardship, then you see the true potential of the mind. -Huanchu Daoren

To ask the hard question is simple. -W. H. Auden

Abjure the why and seek the how. -Sir Richard (Francis) Burton

Do not think, do not imagine, do not analyze. Do not meditate, do not reflect. Abide in the natural state. -The Six Rules of Tilopa

A day without work is a day without eating. -Pai-chang

Zen is not some kind of excitement, but merely concentration on our usual everyday routine. -Shunkyu Suzuki

Do not permit the events of your daily life to bind you, but never withdraw yourself from them. -Zen saying

There is no beginning to practice nor end to enlightenment; There is no beginning to enlightenment nor end to practice. -Dogen

Great Faith. Great Doubt. Great Effort. -The three qualities necessary for training.

Should you desire great tranquility, prepare to sweat white beads. -Hakuin

A luminous moon, the wind in the pine, A long evening, a transcendent view: But what is the meaning of this? What is the meaning of life?

Value judgements are destructive to our proper business, which curiousity and awareness. -John Cage

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while A great wind is bearing me across the sky. -Ojibwa saying

Water which is too pure has no fish. Ts'ai Ken T'an

Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening, no doubt, no awakening. -Zen saying

In autumn even though I may see it again, how can I sleep with the moon this evening? -Dogen

Some there are that torment themselves afresh with the memory of what is past; others, again, afflict themselves with the apprehension of evils to come; and very ridiculously both - for the one does not now concern us, and the other not yet .... One should count each day a separate life. -Seneca

All existent phenomena are empty; beware of taking as real, all that is nonexistent. -Layman P'ang

It is better to practice a little than talk a lot. -Muso Kokushi

Everything the same; everything distinct. -Zen saying

In a hundred-mile march, ninety is about the halfway point." -Chinese proverb.

"Don't scale the mountain seeking wisdom, when the answer lies at your feet."

"When the student is ready, the teacher will come."

"A day without work is a day without food."

"When an ordinary man acquires knowledge, he becomes wise. When a wise man attains enlightenment, he becomes ordinary."

"The teacher opens the door, but you must enter by yourself."

"He who completely masters one thing, understands everything."

"If you can't find the answer within yourself, where do you intend to look?"

"Act without doing; work without effort." "An angry man defeats himself."

"It is the empty space within a bowl which makes it useful."

"The mind should be nowhere in particular."

"Do not seek to follow in another's footsteps, rather seek what he sought. "

"Knowledge is more powerful than any force. The mind is the ultimate weapon."

"That survives which refuses to know the power of the other."

"Life unfolds upon a great sheet called Time and once finished it is gone forever."

"A heavy snowfall disappears into the sea without a trace."

"To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill."

"Not every tiger will pounce, but every tiger MAY pounce."

"What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

"Victory will not come by strength alone. The hard and strong shall fail. The weak and flexible will overcome. Only by blending with that which comes against us can we be victorious."

"To know others is to be wise, to know yourself is to be enlightened."

"A man who seeks revenge should start by digging two graves."

"In life it is the not the destination that matters, but the journey."

"The only wisdom you will find on a mountaintop is the wisdom you take there."

Chop wood, carry water.

Before a person studies Zen, mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and waters are no longer waters; after Enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters.

The willow is green; flowers are red. The flower is not red, nor the willow green.

The raindrops patter on the Basho leaf, but these are not the tears of grief; this is only the anguish of him who is listening to them.

Lovely snow flakes, they fall nowhere else!

Everything the same; everything distinct.

If you meet on the way a man who knows, Don't speak a word, - don't keep silent!

If the waves of the Zen stream were alike, innumerable ordinary people would get bogged down.

Say one word with your mouth shut!

Even a good thing isn't as good as nothing

. Catch the vigorous horse of your mind.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bi-Yan-Lu Master Juchi had, so people say, A peaceful, kindly, unassuming way, Was never heard to speak and never taught, For words are but illusions, and he sought To keep illusions faithfully at bay. And so, while others chose to air their learning, While novices and monks spoke out concerning The meaning of the world, its why and wherefore, And boldly found for each "because" a "therefore," He listened and said nothing, always turning A warning finger upward, and the same Was his response whenever people came- Questioners who, careless or perplexed, Inquired as to the meaning of some text, The dawning of the truth or Buddha's name. Silen but eloquent, this pointing finger Grew ever more insistent, more commanding; Instructing, guiding, praising, reprimanding, Of the world's meaning and of truth it spoke So well that many a pupil, understanding It's gentle message, suddenly awoke.

Walking is Zen, Sitting, too, is Zen. If I speak or am silent, Tarry or hasten: Everything, in its true nature, Is stillness.

Woe to this degenerate age Of consummate unbelief! Empty of virtue, people Are scarcely now to be bettered. Too long have they been By holiness deserted, And wrong thinking Has eaten deep into them. Since truth is so weak, The devil rules them, And evildoers and enemies of truth Are not few in number. Now it angers them that they too, Powerless to destroy or rend it in pieces, Must listen face-to-face to the teaching Of him who is come.

Everyone, in His True Nature, Is Buddha Deep in their true nature, people are Buddha, As water is ice. And as without water There is no ice, so without Buddha There is no one. Woe to those who seek afar off And know not what is close at hand! They are like people standing in water And shouting for water nonetheless. Born noble and rich beyond counting, They wander their way as if poor, wretched And unsolaced.

The Experience of Being and Dualism Stubbornly to seek the truth's deepest meaning Is to wear yourself out in idle cogitation. Put your thinking to silence- That is what matters! Do not linger in thought Upon antitheses; To chase after and seek them- Beware of so doing! For one breath of antithesis Hands your spirit over to confusion.

The Doctrine of Not-Two Believing is not-two. Not-two is believing In that which cannot be uttered. Are not Past and future An everlasting now?

By ourselves is evil done, By ourselves we pain endure, By ourselves we cease from wrong, By ourselves become we pure. No one saves us but ourselves, No one can and no one may; We ourselves must tread the Path: Buddhas only show the way.

Trust in the Heart The perfect way knows no difficulties Expect that it refuses to make preferences; Only when freed from hate and love Does it reveal itself fully and without disguise; A tenth of an inch's difference, And heaven and earth are set apart. If you wish to see it before your eyes Have no fixed thoughts either for or against it. To set up what you like against what you dislike- That is the disease of the mind. The Way is perfect like unto vast space, With nothing wanting, nothing superfluous. It is due to making choices That its Suchness is lost sight of. The One is none other than the All, the All none other than the One. Take your stand on this, and the rest will follow of its own accord; I have spoken, but in vain, for what can words tell Of things that have no yesterday, tomorrow, or today?

Had you done a good job Clapping with Two hands, No need then to hear The sound of one.

It is nonsense to insist that we cannot achieve enlightenment without learned and pious teachers, Because wisdom is innate, we can all enlighten ourselves. - Hui-neng (638-713)

If enlightenment is not where you are standing, where will you look?"

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions simply because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But when, after observation and analysis, you find anything that agrees with reason, and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. -- The Buddha's Kalama Sutra

Don't wish for perfect health. In perfect health there is greed and wanting. So and ancient said, "Make good medicine from the suffering of sickness."

Don't hope for life without problems. An easy life results in a judgmental and lazy mind. So and ancient once said, "Accept the anxieties and difficulties of this life."

Don't expect your practice to be always clear of obstacles. Without hindrances the mind that seeks enlightenment may be burnt out. So an ancient once said, "Attain deliverance in disturbances."

Don't expect to practice hard and not experience the weird. Hard practice that evades the unknown makes for a weak commitment. So an ancient once said, "Help hard practice by befriending every demon."

Don't expect to finish doing something easily. If you happen to acquire something easily the will is made weaker. So an ancient once said, "Try again and again to complete what you are doing."

Make friends but don't expect any benefit for yourself. Friendship only for oneself harms trust. So an ancient once said, "Have an enduring friendship with purity in heart."

Don't expect others to follow your direction. When it happens that others go along with you, it results in pride. So an ancient once said, "Use your will to bring peace between people."

Expect no reward for an act of charity. Expecting something in return leads to a scheming mind. So an ancient once said, "Throw false spirituality away like a pair of old shoes."

Don't seek profit over and above what your work is worth. Acquiring false profit makes a fool (of oneself). So an ancient once said, "Be rich in honesty."

Don't try to make clarity of mind with severe practice. Every mind comes to hate severity, and where is clarity in mortification? So an ancient once said, "Clear a passage way through severe practice."

Be equal to every hindrance. Buddha attained supreme enlightenment without hindrance. Seekers after truth are schooled in adversity. When they are confronted by a hindrance, they can't be overcome. Then, cutting free, their treasure is great.