Neurodharma 2019 – Quotes

Neurodharma 2019 – Quotes

Neurodharma Themes

Steadying the Mind

If one going down into a river, swollen and swiftly flowing,
is carried away by the current – how can one help others across?
     Sutta Nipāta 2.321

We live in forgetfulness. But always there is the opportunity to live our life fully. When we drink water, we can be aware that we are drinking water. When we walk, we can be aware that we are walking. Mindfulness is available to us in every moment.
     Thich Nhat Hanh

Allow the teachings to enter you as you might listen to music, or in the way the earth allows the rain to permeate it.
     Thich Nhat Hanh

The systematic training of the mind – the cultivation of happiness, the genuine inner transformation by deliberately selecting and focusing on positive mental states and challenging negative mental states – is possible because of the very structure and function of the brain.
     The Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler

 Suggestions for steadying the mind:

      1. Establish intention both top-down and bottom-up.
      2. Relax; quiet the body and mind.
      3. Find a simple sense of warmheartedness.
      4. Let go of unnecessary anxiety; help yourself feel as safe as you are.
      5. Open to enjoyable experiences, such as gratitude or contentment. 


Warming the Heart

With good will for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart: above, below, and all around, unobstructed, without hostility or hate.
     Sutta Nipāta 1.150

Happy indeed we live, friendly amidst the hostile.
Amidst hostile people, we dwell free from hatred.
     Dhammapada 15.197

May I be loving, open, and aware in this moment.
If I cannot be loving, open, and aware in this moment, may I be kind.
If I cannot be kind, may I be nonjudgmental.
If I cannot be nonjudgmental, may I not cause harm.
If I cannot not cause harm, may I cause the least harm possible.
     Larry Yang

 Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in
     Leonard Cohen

As the earth gives us food and air and all the things we need, I give my heart to caring for all others until all attain awakening. For the good of all sentient beings, may loving kindness be born in me.
     Maureen Connor

 Suggestions for increasing cultivation:

      1. Have a beneficial (enjoyable, useful) experience – Notice or create it. 
      2. Enrich it – Sustain the experience for a breath or more; intensify it; feel it in your body; see what is fresh or novel about it; and/or find what is personally relevant in it.
      3. Absorb it – Intend and sense that the experience is sinking in to you, and focus on what is pleasurable or meaningful about it. 


Resting in Fullness

One is not low because of birth
nor does birth make one holy.
Deeds alone make one low,
deeds alone make one holy.
     Sutta Nipāta 1.136

One is not wise
because one speaks much.
One is wise
who is peaceable, friendly, and fearless.
     Dhammapada 19.258

When faced with the vicissitudes of life,
one’s mind remains unshaken, sorrowless, stainless, secure;
this is the greatest welfare.
     Sutta Nipāta 2.271

Just as a tree, though cut down,
sprouts up again if its roots remain uncut and firm,
even so, until the craving that lies dormant is rooted out,
suffering springs up again and again.
     Dhammapada 24.338

Think not lightly of good, saying, “It will not come to me.”
Drop by drop is the water pot filled.
Likewise, the wise one, gathering it little by little,
fills oneself with good.
     Dhammapada 9.122

The “Three-Legged Stool” of Practice:

      1. Loving (metta) – compassion, kindness
      2. Knowing (sati) – mindfulness
      3. Growing (bhavana) – cultivation


Being Wholeness

You are the sky.
Everything else – it’s just the weather.
     Pema Chodron

We have only this moment,
Sparkling like a star in our hand –
And melting like a snowflake.
     Francis Bacon

Impermanent are all compounded things.
When one perceives this with true insight,
then one becomes detached from suffering.
     Dhammapada 20.277


Receiving Nowness

One should learn to let thoughts arise and be freed to go as soon as they arise, instead of letting them invade one’s mind. In the freshness of the present moment, the past is gone, the future is not born, and if one remains in pure mindfulness and freedom, potentially disturbing thoughts arise and go without leaving a trace.
     Matthieu Ricard

There is no past.
There is no future.
You are completely supported.
     Roshi Hogen Bays

In the deepest forms of insight, we see that things change so quickly that we can’t hold onto anything, and eventually the mind lets go of clinging. Letting go brings equanimity. The greater the letting go, the deeper the equanimity . . . In Buddhist practice, we work to expand the range of life experiences in which we are free.     
     U Pandita

If you let go a little, you will have a little peace.
If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.
If you let go completely, you will be completely peaceful.
     Ajahn Chah


Opening into Allness

To learn the Buddha way is to learn about oneself
To learn about oneself is to forget oneself
To forget oneself is to perceive oneself as all things.

Blissful is passionlessness in the world,
The overcoming of sensual desires;
But the abolition of the conceit I am —
That is truly the supreme bliss.
     Udāna 2.11

The self is not something in and of itself; rather we
create the felt sense of it moment to moment.
     Joseph Goldstein

The profound realization that underlies the Buddha’s awakening . . .
[is] that neither a self nor something belonging to
a self can be found at all, at any time, anywhere.
     Bhikkhu Analayo

You live in illusion and the appearance of things.
There is a reality, but you do not know this.
When you understand this, you will see that you are nothing.
And being nothing, you are everything. That is all.
     Kalu Rinpoche

There is no phenomenon in the universe that does not intimately concern us, from a pebble resting at the bottom of the ocean to the movement of a galaxy millions of light years away. All phenomena are interdependent. When we are in harmony with each other, we are also in harmony with the land. We see our close relationship with every person and every species. The happiness and suffering of all humans and all other species is our own happiness and suffering. We inter-are. As practitioners we see that we are part of and not separate from the soil, the forests, the rivers, and the sky. We share the same destiny.
     Thich Nhat Hanh

When we try to pick out anything by itself,
we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
     John Muir

One day I sat on top of a cliff overlooking a beach and gazed out into the blue abyss, and soon found myself completely consumed by the vast expanse of all that is. I felt oneness and timelessness with the universe profoundly. It felt as though a conscious energy outside of my mind was running through me, and although I could feel it transforming my very being, the experience seemed untouched by thought or judgment. Some of life’s greatest mysteries were answered within this single experience and remain felt and known to this day.
     Personal communication from a woman who wrote me

One moonlit evening in 13th century Japan, the Zen nun Mugai Nyodai was carrying water in an old bucket made of bamboo strips. It suddenly broke and she had an awakening. I particularly like this version of her enlightenment poem from the writer Mary Swigonski:

     With this and that I tried to keep the bucket together
     And then the bottom fell out.
     Where water does not collect
     The moon does not dwell.


Finding Timelessness

This holy life is not for the sake of gain, honor, and fame, or for the attainment of virtue, concentration, or knowledge and vision. Rather, it is this unshakeable deliverance of mind that is the goal of this holy life, its heartwood, and its end.
Majjhima Nikaya, 30

The entire world is in flames, the entire world is going up in smoke;
the entire world is burning, the entire world is vibrating.
But that which does not vibrate or burn,
which is experienced by the noble ones,
where death has no entry –
in that my mind delights.
Saṃyutta Nikāya 1.168

This is peaceful, this is sublime, namely:
the calming of all constructions,
the letting go of all supports,
the extinguishing of all craving,
Majjhima Nikaya 64

Let go of the past, let go of the future, let go of the present,
and cross over to the farther shore of existence.
With mind wholly liberated,
you shall come no more to birth and death.
Dhammapada 24.348

Things appear and disappear according to causes and conditions. The true nature of things is not being born, and not dying. Birth and death are nothing more than concepts. Our true nature is the nature of no-birth and no-death, and we must touch our true nature in order to be free.
Thich Nhat Hanh

You don’t need anything to be happy.
Dipa Ma

Taking the Fruit as the Path

Things fall apart
Tread the path with care
Samyutta Nikaya 6.15

Meditate every day. Practice now. Don’t think you will do more later.
Any situation is workable. Each of us has enormous power. It can be used to help ourselves and help others.
Practice patience. Patience is one of the most important virtues for developing mindfulness and concentration.
Free your mind. Your mind is all stories.
Cool the fire of emotions. Anger is a fire.
Simplify. Live simply. A very simple life is good for every thing. Too much luxury is a hindrance to practice.
Cultivate the spirit of blessing. If you bless those around you this will inspire you to be attentive in every moment.
Have fun along the way. I am quite happy. If you come to meditate you will also be happy.
Dipa Ma

One day the Fifth Patriarch of Zen told his monks to express their wisdom in a poem. The learned head monk, Shen Hsiu, wrote:
The body is the wisdom-tree,
The mind is a bright mirror in a stand;
Take care to wipe it all the time,
And allow no dust to cling.
Hui Neng was a simple monk who could not even write, so someone else wrote his poem:
Fundamentally no wisdom-tree exists,
Nor the stand of a mirror bright.
Since all is empty from the beginning,
Where can the dust alight
     Hui Neng


Additional Quotes

This we know. The Earth does not belong to humankind. Humankind belongs to the Earth. All things are connected like the blood which unites us all. Humankind did not weave the web of life. They are merely a strand in it. Whatever they do to the web, they do to themselves.   (pronouns modified to allow gender inclusion)
Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe of Washington State

Do everything with a mind that lets go. Don’t accept praise or gain or anything else. If you let go a little, you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace.
Ajahn Chah

Train yourself in doing good that lasts and brings happiness.
Cultivate generosity, the life of peace,
and a mind of boundless love.
Itivuttaka 1.22 

If by renouncing a lesser happiness
one may realize a greater happiness,
let the wise one renounce the lesser,
having regard for the greater.
Dhammapada 21.290


What do you mean by the “ground of Being” exactly and how do you teach someone to surrender to the ground of Being for this state to arise?
Non-duality Magazine


I use the term “ground of Being” as a general term to refer to the Source, the mystery which is fundamental to all that is manifest and unmanifest. We don’t teach people to surrender to it. Rather, as our ground shines through, the veils of the ego become thinner, and our true nature shines through. To the ego, this can feel like surrender, as it is a type of letting go.
Tina Rasmussen


Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and expert on the impact of toxic narcissism. She is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.

The focus of Dr. Ramani’s clinical, academic, and consultative work is the etiology and impact of narcissism and high-conflict, entitled, antagonistic personality styles on human relationships, mental health, and societal expectations. She has spoken on these issues to clinicians, educators, and researchers around the world.

She is the author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist, and Don't You Know Who I Am? How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Her work has been featured at SxSW, TEDx, and on a wide range of media platforms including Red Table Talk, the Today Show, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, and Bravo, and she is a featured expert on the digital media mental health platform MedCircle. Dr. Durvasula’s research on personality disorders has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and she is a Consulting Editor of the scientific journal Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Stephen Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He is a former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and has been president of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences, which represents approximately twenty-thousand biobehavioral scientists. He’s led a number of other organizations and received a wide variety of professional awards.

In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological states in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders, and has had a major impact on the field of psychology.

Dr. Porges has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across a wide array of disciplines. He’s also the author of several books including The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation.

Dr. Bruce Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network, Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, and a Professor (Adjunct) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. From 1993 to 2001 he was the Thomas S. Trammell Research Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital.

He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of trauma in childhood, and his work on the impact of abuse, neglect, and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs, and policy across the world. His work has been instrumental in describing how traumatic events in childhood change the biology of the brain.

Dr. Perry's most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, was released earlier this year. Dr. Perry is also the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children, and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Additionally, he’s authored more than 300 journal articles and book chapters and has been the recipient of a variety of professional awards.

Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith is a child clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma and issues of race. She earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard and then received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She performed postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital. She has combined her love of teaching and advocacy by serving as a professor and by directing mental health programs for children experiencing trauma, homelessness, or foster care.

Dr. Briscoe-Smith is also a senior fellow of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and is both a professor and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Wright Institute. She provides consultation and training to nonprofits and schools on how to support trauma-informed practices and cultural accountability.

Sharon Salzberg is a world-renowned teacher and New York Times bestselling author. She is widely considered one of the most influential individuals in bringing mindfulness practices to the West, and co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts alongside Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Sharon has been a student of Dipa Ma, Anagarika Munindra, and Sayadaw U Pandita alongside other masters.

Sharon has authored 10 books, and is the host of the fantastic Metta Hour podcast. She was a contributing editor of Oprah’s O Magazine, had her work featured in Time and on NPR, and contributed to panels alongside the Dalai Lama.

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