Your own master

Do you know where the disease lies which keeps you from reaching enlightenment? It lies where you have no faith in yourself.

When faith in yourself is lacking you find yourself hurried by others in every possible way. At every encounter you are no longer your own master; you are driven about by others this way and that. All that is required is all at once to cease leaving yourself in search of something external. When this is done you will find yourself no different from the Buddha.

From the Rinzai Roku, the recorded sayings and doings of Zen master Rinzai Gigen Zenji, died 866 CE

Trust ourselves completely

When we practice meditation, we express confidence in the simple yet powerful gesture of opening to whatever arises during our meditation session. We may come to our meditation with the hope of reducing our stress or perfecting our technique or maybe even attaining enlightenment. But we very soon discover that the practice requires that we drop such ambition and sit still on the cushion, letting go of our internal dialogue, opening to our world — very simply, very directly.

When we examine this experience of opening, we find that we are expressing a part of ourselves that we may tend to overlook: we are expressing our ability to trust ourselves completely. In order to open — in meditation and in life in general — we must let go of our familiar thoughts and emotions, we must step out from behind the safe curtain of our inner rehearsals and onto the stage of reality, even if it’s for just a brief moment. When we open on the cushion, we renounce our attachment to our emotional security blanket, over and over again. We drop our pretence and our story lines and stand naked in the midst of uncertainty — the very essence of confidence itself.

Maybe we would like to protect ourselves, but instead we have the courage to let go, and such courage naturally blossoms into the confidence to be fully open

Michael Carroll, Bringing Spiritual Confidence to the Workplace

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How we see

Consumed with anger,
The world is an ugly place.


Bathed in happiness,
The world is a wonderful place.


But….aha! It’s the same world.

Taitetsu Unno, 1929 – 2014, scholar and author on Pure Land Buddhism, Shin Buddhism: Bits of Rubble turn into Gold

Knowing Eggs

Once, when I was in college, I wrote home complaining about the food, and my mother sent me a Julia Child cookbook. In the book was a section on dealing with eggs in which she said that the sign of a really good cook is knowing eggs. And so I took an egg out. You can watch an egg – you can learn certain things just by watching it, but you don’t learn very much. To learn about eggs you have to put them in a pan and try to make something out of them. If you do this long enough you begin to understand that there are variations in eggs, and there are certain ways that they react to heat and ways that they react to oil or butter or whatever. And so by actually working with the egg and trying to make something out of it, you really come to understand eggs.

And it’s the same with the mind: unless you actually try to make something out of the mind, try to get a mental state going and keep it going, you don’t really know your own mind. You don’t know the processes of cause and effect within the mind. There has to be a factor of actual participation in the process. That way you can understand it. This all comes down to being observant and developing a skill. 

Thanissaro Bhikkhu, The Path of Concentration & Mindfulness

Daily prayers

What I know in my bones is that I forgot to take time to remember what I know.

The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy.

Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves.

Terry Tempest Williams, 1955 – American writer, educator, conservationist, Talking to God: Portrait of a World at Prayer.