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Zen  Quotations

He who wherever he goes is attached to no person and to no place by ties of flesh; who accepts good and evil alike, neither welcoming the one nor shrinking from the other take it that such a one has attained Perfection.
"Bhagavad-Gita"

Ye suffer from yourselves.
None else compels.
None other holds you that ye live and die,
And whirl upon the wheel,
And hug and kiss.
It's spokes of agony,
It's tire of tears,
It's nave of nothingness.
Buddha Gautama (563-483 BC)
(Buddha's very first sermon in translation of Swami Vivekananda)

Whatever is material shape, past, future, present, subjective or objective, gross or subtle, mean or excellent, whether it is far or near all material shape should be seen by perfect intuitive wisdom as it really is:  "This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."
Whatever is feeling, whatever is perception, whatever are habitual tendencies, whatever is consciousness, past, future, present, subjective or objective, gross or subtle, mean or excellent, whether it is far or near all should be seen by perfect intuitive wisdom as it really is: "This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."
Buddha Gautama (563-483 BC)

In the seen, let there be only the seen.  In the heard, let there be only the heard.  In the sensed, let there be only the sensed.  In the cognized, let there be only the cognized.  That is how you should train yourself.
When for you there is only the seen in the seen, only the heard in the heard, only the sensed in the sensed, only the cognized in the cognized, then you will not be reckoned by it.  When you are not reckoned by it, you will not be in it.  When you are not in it, you will be neither "here" nor "there" nor between the two.
This, just this, is the end of suffering.
Buddha Gautama (563-483 BC)
"Bahiya Sutta"

Cease to do evil;
Lean to do well;
Cleanse your own heart
This is the way of the Buddhas.
Buddha Gautama (563-483 BC)
(Alan Watts, "The Spirit of Zen", 1958)

Externally keep yourself away from all relationships, and internally have no pantings in your heart; when your mind is like unto a straight-standing wall, you may enter into the Path.
Bodhidharma (AD 470-543)

Neither is there Bodhi-tree,
Nor yet a mirror bright;
Since in reality all is void,
Whereon can the dust fall?
Hui Neng (AD 638-713)
(Alan Watts, "The Spirit of Zen", 1958)

If you do not get it from yourself,
Where will you go for it?
"Zenrin-kushu" (published in 1688)
"Collection of Sayings from the Zen Forest"

This very earth is the Lotus Land of Purity,
And this body is the body of Buddha.
Hakuin
(Alan Watts, "The Spirit of Zen", 1958)

Under the sword lifted high,
There is hell making you tremble;
But go ahead,
And you have the land of bliss.
Miyamoto Musashi
(Trans. Suzuki)

A monk came to master Chao-chou and asked, "I have just come to this monastery.  Would you mind giving me some instruction, please?"  The master said, "Have you eaten your breakfast yet, or not?"  "Yes, I have, sir."  "Then wash your bowls."
(Alan Watts, "The Spirit of Zen", 1958)

O you followers of Truth!  If you wish to obtain an orthodox understanding of Zen, do not be deceived by others.  Inwardly or outwardly, if you encounter any obstacles kill them right away.  If you encounter the Buddha, kill him; if you encounter the Patriarch, kill him... kill them all without hesitation, for this is the only way to deliverance.  Do not get yourselves entangled with any object, but stand above, pass on, and be free!
Lin-Chi
(Trans. Suzuki)

The first cup moistens my lips and throat, the second cup breaks my loneliness, the third cup searches my inmost being... The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration all the wrong of life passes away through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified; the sixth cup calls me to the realms of immortals. The seventh cup ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of cool wind that rises in my sleeves. Where is Heaven? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither.
Chinese poet about tea
(Alan Watts, "The Spirit of Zen", 1958)


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