The sublime peace of the Tao [is] something we can all experience by . . . coming into accord with how things actually are—what Tibetan Buddhists call the natural state. Rather than trying to build skyscrapers to reach heaven and bridges to cross the raging river of samsara to reach the so-called other shore of nirvana, we could realize that it all flows right through us right now and there’s nowhere to go, nothing to get, and all is perfect as it is. This deep inner knowing has a lot to do with trust and letting be; there is nirvanic peace in things just as they are.
Lama Surya Das in Derek Lin, Tao Te Ching: Annotated and Explained
Recently, one friend asked me, “How can I force myself to smile when I am filled with sorrow? It isn’t natural.” I told her she must be able to smile to her sorrow, because we are more than our sorrow. A human being is like a television set with millions of channels. If we turn the Buddha on, we are the Buddha. If we turn sorrow on then we are sorrow. If we turn a smile on, we really are the smile. We can not let just one channel dominate us. We have the seed of everything in us, and we have to seize the situation in our hand, to recover our own sovereignty.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Smile
Insist on yourself; never imitate.
Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation;
but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
His steps leave no trace. He has no power.
He achieves nothing, has no reputation.
Since he judges no one
No one judges him.
Such is the perfect man:
His boat is empty
Chuang Tzu, China, 4th Century BC.
And did you feel it, in your heart,
how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?
Mary Oliver, Swan
Let all peoples be happy, weak or strong, of high, middle, low estate, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far away, alive or still to be born. May they all be entirely happy. Let nobody lie to anybody or despise any single being anywhere. May no one wish harm to any single creature out of anger or hatred. Let us cherish all creatures as a mother her only child. May our loving thoughts fill the whole world above, below, across without limit of boundless goodwill toward the whole world, unrestricted, free of hatred and enmity.
Early Buddhist aspiration, quoted by Karen Armstrong in her lecture Faith after Sept 11