Someone once described Christian Secularism as the assumption that there is nothing at all to life except a pilgrimage between the maternity ward and the crematorium, and that it is within that span that Christian concern must be exercised because that is all there is.
Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination.
The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events -- that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies -- and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.
The greater part of human activity is designed to make permanent those experiences and joys which are only lovable because they are changing.
The materialism of modern civilization is paradoxically founded on a hatred of materiality, a goal-oriented desire to obliterate all natural limits through technology, imposing an abstract grid over nature.
The style of God venerated in church, mosque, and synagogue seems completely different from the style of the natural universe.
All I'm saying is that minerals are just a rudimentary form of consciousness whereas the other people are saying that consciousness is a complicated form of minerals.
Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery -- the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets -- is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.
Western religions are more concerned with behavior, doctrine, and belief than with any transformation of the way in which we are aware of ourselves and our world.
The difficulty for most of us in the modern world is that the old-fashioned idea of God has become incredible or implausible.
As muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone, it could be argued that those who sit quietly and do nothing are making one of the best possible contributions to a world in turmoil.
We are at war between consciousness and nature, between the desire for permanence and the fact of flux. It is ourself against ourselves.
The best way to convince someone is by making him realize that what you speak came from his own mind.
For thousands of years human history has been a magnificently futile conflict, a wonderfully staged panorama of triumphs and tragedies based on the resolute taboo against admitting that black goes with white.
The Highest to which people can attain is wonder; and if the prime phenomenon makes them wonder, let them be content; nothing higher can it give them, and nothing further should they seek for behind it; there is the limit.
The idea of the Universe being ruled by that marvelous old gentleman is no longer plausible. It isn't that anybody has disproved it, but it just somehow doesn't go with the vast infinitude of the Universe.
In Hindu philosophy the whole creation is regarded as the Vishnu Lila, the play of Vishnu. Lila means dance or play. Also in Hindu philosophy, they call the world illusion; and in Latin the root of the word illusion is ludere, to play.
Like too much alcohol, self-consciousness makes us see ourselves double, and we make the double image for two selves -- mental and material, controlling and controlled, reflective and spontaneous. Thus instead of suffering we suffer about suffering, and suffer about suffering about suffering.
The fools standpoint is that all social institutions are games. He sees the whole world as game playing. That's why, when people take their games seriously and take on stern and pious expressions, the fool gets the giggles because he knows that it is all a game.
Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we're not alone.
The self-styled practical man of affairs who pooh-poohs philosophy as a lot of windy notions is himself a pragmatist or a positivist, and a bad one at that, since he has given no thought to his position.
The trouble with many religions, accused of wishful thinking, is that they are not wishful enough. They show a deplorable lack of imagination.
Your world is all these elements. Of light and sound, of taste, smell, and touch, woven together in many dimensions on the fabulous loom of your brain. Your brain; the most complicated thing in the world, which you yourself grew...without even thinking about it.
If you are afraid of death, be afraid. The point is to get with it, to let it take over -- fear, ghosts, pains, transience, dissolution, and all. And then comes the hitherto unbelievable surprise; you don't die because you were never born. You had just forgotten who you are.
We get such a kick out of looking forward to pleasures and rushing ahead to meet them that we can't slow down enough to enjoy them when they come.
Zen is a way of liberation, concerned not with discovering what is good or bad or advantageous, but what is.
Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.
When you find out that there was never anything in the dark side to be afraid of … Nothing is left but to love.
Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up. Now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.
You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.
You yourself are the eternal energy which appears as this universe. You didn't come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.
What we have to discover is that there is no safety, that seeking is painful, and that when we imagine that we have found it, we don't like it.
We know that from time to time there arise among human beings people who seem to exude love as naturally as the sun gives out heat.
The Godhead is never an object of its own knowledge. Just as a knife doesn't cut itself, fire doesn't burn itself, light doesn't illuminate itself. It's always an endless mystery to itself.
By replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity we open ourselves up to an infinite stream of possibility. We can let fear rule our lives or we can become childlike with curiosity, pushing our boundaries, leaping out of our comfort zones, and accepting what life puts before us.
Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.
Although we all realize that monotony is boring, almost every form of industrial work -- banking, accounting, mass-producing, service -- is monotonous, and most people are paid for simply putting up with monotony.
These people, as far as I can see, do not congregate in the notorious centers of the movement, like the North Beach in San Francisco or Greenwich Village, or Venice, California.
The truth is revealed by removing things that stand in its light, an art not unlike sculpture, in which the artist creates, not by building, but by hacking away.
A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with Reality, and lives in a world of illusion.
Ego is a social institution with no physical reality. The ego is simply your symbol of yourself. Just as the word water is a noise that symbolizes a certain liquid without being it, so too the idea of ego symbolizes the role you play, who you are, but it is not the same as your living organism.
Meditation is the way in which we come to feel our basic inseparability from the whole universe, and what that requires is that we shut up.
If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you'll spend your life completely wasting your time. You'll be doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don't like doing, which is stupid.
To go out of your mind at least once a day is tremendously important. By going out of your mind, you come to your senses.
We keep counting time. We have the sensation time is running out, and we bug ourselves with this. Time is nothing but an abstract measure of motion. We are living in an eternal now.
The only alternative to a shuddering paralysis is to leap into action regardless of the consequences.
Dispelling dread isn't a matter of trying to forget about washing dishes. It is realizing that in actual fact you only have one dish to wash, ever: this one; only one step to take, ever: this one. And that is Zen.
Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.
Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.
A life full of goals or endpoints is like trying to abate one's hunger by eating merely the two precise ends of a banana.
Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries on and on, and misses everything. It is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world.
People think it would be nice to have peace of mind, to be serene, to be calm, to be undisturbed by this, that, and the other. But as long as you make all those things objects of desire, you have defined yourself as lacking them.
We need, above all things, to slow down and get ourselves to amble through life instead of to rush through it.
The relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.
When we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.
Ordinarily we do not discover the wisdom of our feelings because we do not let them complete their work. We try to suppress them or discharge them in premature action. Not realizing that they are a process of creation which, like birth, begins as a pain and turns into a child.
When you're ready to wake up, you're going to wake up. And if you're not ready, you're going to stay pretending you're just poor little me.
The essential principle of business -- of occupation in the world -- is this: figure out some way in which you get paid for playing.
Buddha's doctrine: man suffers because of his craving to possess and keep forever things which are impermanent.
To resist change, to try to cling to life, is like holding your breath: if you persist you kill yourself.
If you study the writings of the mystics, you will always find things in them that appear to be paradoxes, as in Zen, particularly.
The myths underlying our culture and underlying our common sense have not taught us to feel identical with the universe, but only parts of it, only in it, only confronting it -- aliens.
The myths underlying our culture and underlying our common sense have not taught us to feel identical with the universe, but only parts of it, only in it, only confronting it -- aliens... within I don't know how many years, but in not too long a time, it's going to become basic common sense that you are not some alien being who confronts an external world that is not you, but that almost every intelligent person will have the feeling of being an activity of the entire universe.
The moralist is the person who tells people that they ought to be unselfish, when they still feel like egos, and his efforts are always and invariably futile.
So the bodhisattva saves all beings, not by preaching sermons to them, but by showing them that they are delivered, they are liberated, by the act of not being able to stop changing.
What the devil is the point of surviving, going on living, when it's a drag? But you see, that's what people do.
You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.
I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.
Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all.
No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.
Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.
To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.