Fresh eyes

If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!

Kierkegaard

Stories

We human beings have the ability to think of things not in front of us. We create stories in our minds in which the hero or heroine is always us. We evaluate what happened in the past, we analyze our present conditions, and we anticipate what should happen in the future…… But this ability leads to many problems. We have certain expectations of our stories. If things go as we expect, we feel like heavenly beings, but if not, we feel we’re in hell. Often we desire more and more without ever experiencing satisfaction, like hungry ghosts. It’s important to see that it’s not life that causes suffering but our expectation that life should be the way we want. We can’t live without expectation, but if we can handle the feelings caused by the difference between our expectations and reality, that’s liberation. 

Kosho Uchiyama, Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo

No substance

The “10, 000 things” is a shorthand way of talking about all the experiences –  good and bad – which arise and pass away in our lifetime.

The ten thousand things are all reflections

The moon originally has no light

Han shen, 9th Century

Maintaining an underlying confidence

If you get into agreeable circumstances, then shine through agreeable circumstances. If you fall into adverse situations, then shine through adverse situations. When greed or desire arise, shine through greed and desire; when hatred or anger arise, shine through hatred and anger; when you act out of ignorance, shine through ignorance. When the three poisons of hatred, greed, and ignorance are not more, and the mind is pure, shine through that pure mind. At all times, in all places, be it desires, senses, gain, loss, right, wrong…..in all things shine through with your whole body

Hakuin,  1686 – 1769, On Kensho, The Four Ways of Knowing