For a peaceful meditation, we need not to go to the mountains and streams;
When thoughts are quieted down, even fire itself is cool and refreshing.
Extract from poem by Ch’an monk Tu Kou-hao, used as last words by Keizan Jōkin, abbot of Erinji, just before he was burned alive by soldiers in his temple.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Wendell Berry, How to Be a Poet
Everything you see has its roots
in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.
Every wondrous sight will vanish,
every sweet word will fade.
But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is eternal–
growing, branching out,
giving new life and new joy.
Why do you weep?–
That Source is within you,
and this whole world
is springing up from it.
The Source is full,
its waters are ever-flowing;
Do not grieve,
drink your fill!
Don’t think it will ever run dry —
This is the endless Ocean!
Rumi, A Garden beyond Paradise
Almost all cultures have the notion that there is a judgment when we die. Some kind of accounting has to be made of one’s life. I believe God — and to me “God” is just shorthand for the ineffable divine presence — has only one question for us at the end: “Did you become yourself?” We have a seeded self that begins to germinate at birth. Our true goal in life is to become that self.
There’s an African proverb: “When death finds you, may it find you alive.” Alive means living your own damn life, not the life that your parents wanted, or the life some cultural group or political party wanted, but the life that your own soul wants to live. That’s the way to evaluate whether you are an authentic person or not.
Michael Meade, Your Own Damn Life
If you don’t become the ocean,
you’ll be seasick every day
When one has given up chasing after happiness…
Traveling through this world
I have entrusted myself to Heaven.
In my sack, three quarts of rice;
By the hearth, a bundle of firewood.
If someone asks what is the mark of enlightenment or illusion
I cannot say – wealth and honor are nothing but dust.
As the evening rain falls, I sit in my hermitage.
And stretch out both feet in answer
Ryoken, 1758–1831, Zen Buddhist monk and poet