10 Oct Neurodharma 2019 – Quotes
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:
- Establish intention both top-down and bottom-up.
- Relax; quiet the body and mind.
- Find a simple sense of warmheartedness.
- Let go of unnecessary anxiety; help yourself feel as safe as you are.
- 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.
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.
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
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.
Suggestions for increasing cultivation:
- Have a beneficial (enjoyable, useful) experience – Notice or create it.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
The “Three-Legged Stool” of Practice:
- Loving (metta) – compassion, kindness
- Knowing (sati) – mindfulness
- Growing (bhavana) – cultivation
You are the sky.
Everything else – it’s just the weather.
We have only this moment,
Sparkling like a star in our hand –
And melting like a snowflake.
Impermanent are all compounded things.
When one perceives this with true insight,
then one becomes detached from suffering.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The self is not something in and of itself; rather we
create the felt sense of it moment to moment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Train yourself in doing good that lasts and brings happiness.
Cultivate generosity, the life of peace,
and a mind of boundless love.
If by renouncing a lesser happiness
one may realize a greater happiness,
let the wise one renounce the lesser,
having regard for the greater.
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?
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.