Posts in the “zen” category

Yogi, Samadhi, and One’s True Nature

“A Yogi is one who has union with the supreme consciousness.”
~ Yogi Bhajan

“Samadhi is the culmination of yoga; it is a state of bliss and union with the universal spirit.”
~ B.K.S. Iyengar

“Seeing into one’s own nature is the goal of Zen.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Over 100 of my favorite “mindfulness” quotes


This page contains a list of my favorite mindfulness quotes. Most of these are short, concise quotes that help bring me back to the present moment, and work well with my “Just Be” mobile app.

Update: I have replaced my Just Be application — which was written for Android only — with a new application I call Back To Now, which runs on both Android and iOS.

Background: Just Be

Just Be was a mobile mindfulness app that I created for Android users. This is what the reminders/notifications look like when you receive them on an Android phone or tablet:

Just Be, a mindfulness reminders app

Ram Dass, Buddha, Maharaj-ji, and Yoda on non-duality

Inspired by a conversation with a friend recently about “trying to love everyone,” I dug into things a little more and found the following information from Ram Dass, Zen masters, the Maharaj-ji (Neem Karoli Baba), and Yoda.

As I keep trying to figure out what Ram Dass means when he says, “love everyone,” I dug through his book, be love now and found these two quotes:

I will continue to be (Thich Nhat Hanh)

I will continue to be.
But you have to be very attentive to see me.
I will be a flower or a leaf.
I will be in those forms and I will say hello to you.
If you are attentive enough, you will recognize me, and you may greet me.
I will be very happy about it.

Types of silence you’ll find in meditation

When I’m not writing about Scala and functional programming, I’m often meditating and/or practicing yoga. The following content is something I wrote about silence in meditation back in 2018.

Fake Absolute Silence

These days in meditation I spend a lot of time in a place I call “Fake Absolute Silence.” In this state you might be fooled into thinking that you’re in the real state of Absolute Silence, but that’s part of the problem — you’re still thinking. Things are definitely quiet in this state; there aren’t many thoughts, and your concentration is focused on your breathing without distraction. However, I find that I’m still very aware of my body and outside noises. But despite that, it’s generally a mentally quiet place.

Sometimes you just have to let people be wrong about you

In my experience, some “judgy” people will make up their own opinion about you — about what you should do or shouldn’t do — when they don’t know all the facts. I use the word judgy, because if you’re a Christian, Jesus was very clear on this point:

Judge not, that ye not be judged.

To wit, sometimes you just have to let people be wrong about you. (From this tweet by TinyBuddha.)

Two tips on understanding Zen koans

A couple of stray Zen thoughts this morning:

If you’re interested in Zen koans, sometimes you need to know the back story of a koan to even have a chance at understanding it. For instance, there’s a koan about a cat that died, and when a monk hears about it, without saying anything, he puts his sandals on his head and walks away. I never understood that (intellectually) until I read that it was a custom at that time to walk with your sandals on your head during a funeral procession.

Another thing to know about koans is that when they say someone was enlightened, there are different forms of enlightenment. For example, one form of enlightenment is an initial enlightenment, and another is the big kahuna.

Notes on several Shinzen Young videos

I’m a big fan of Shinzen Young and his teaching. At this point in this video, he talks about how we might think we’re going closer to The Source, but you may really be on a detour.

And then in this video he talks about three key moments related to his becoming enlightened. I love that he is willing to speak the truth of his experience, like this: “Suddenly, for no reason, I dropped in Equanimity, big time.” He mentions that his pain level was exactly the same, but the suffering dramatically reduces.

He then said, “A few years later he was asking, ‘Who am I’, and I looked at my boundaries, and they vanished. And they never came back, and I was never the same. (later) It never went away, ever. ”

Finally, I wrote about Shinzen Young’s description of enlightenment.

The great way is not difficult ...

“The great way is not difficult if you just don’t pick and choose.”
~ Zen Saying

“Everything is suffering for those who discriminate.”
~ Patanjali (in the Yoga Sutras)

“Many paths lead to the same garden.”
~ Me

Quotes from Daniel Ingram (mainly Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha)

This is a page of quotes from Daniel Ingram, mostly from two versions of his book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. There are maybe five great books I have read about meditation, and this is one of the Top 5, maybe #1.

All of the following quotes come from Mr. Ingram.

The quotes from Daniel Ingram

Until you gain access concentration, you ain’t got squat.

... if we can simply know our sensate experience clearly enough, we will arrive at fundamental wisdom.

Insight practice is all about ... grounding attention in our six sense doors and their true nature.

There are six sense doors. Sensations arise and vanish. Notice this for every sensation.

The gold standard for training in concentration is how quickly we can enter into specific, skillful, altered states of consciousness...

The gold standard for training in wisdom ... is that we can quickly and consistently perceive the true nature of the countless quick sensations that make up our whole reality...

The 80/20 rule for mindfulness meditation when talking with other people

I haven’t decided yet if I like the book, Demystifying Awakening: A Buddhist Path of Realization, Embodiment, and Freedom, by Stephen Snyder, but one thing I do like is the concept of an 80/20 rule that he learned about for when we are interacting with other people.

The idea is that even when you’re talking and interacting with other people, 80% of your concentration should still be on yourself and your inner processes, and 20% should be on who you are interacting with.

This is consistent with my own thoughts on the subject, and what Ram Dass said about Maharaji, that Maharaji could always be seen mouthing “Ram ... Ram ... Ram,” even when he was listening to others. Ram Dass himself also spoke of this in his own practice, and is almost always seen working a mala in public speeches.

A meditation/mantra to bring you back to the present moment

A favorite mindfulness meditation that helps bring me back to the present moment:

In just this moment, what do you feel?
What do you smell?

(Or, more generally, “What do you sense?”)

That isn’t a mantra per se, but more of what I call a “mindfulness reminder” to help bring you back to the present moment.

The realized yogi is utterly disinterested but full of compassion

The realized yogi continues to function and act in the world, but in a way that is free. She is free from the desires of motivation and free from the desires of the rewards of action.

The yogi is utterly disinterested but paradoxically full of the engagement of compassion. She is in the world but not of it. The yogi is beyond cause and effect, action and reaction.

Later we shall see the role that Time plays in this — how there is freedom because the Illusion of Time no longer exists to bind us to the past and future.

~ from Light on Life, by B.K.S. Iyengar

I love you. I love everyone. That’s what’s killing me.

Possibly my favorite part of the movie Spanglish is when Cloris Leachman’s character says, “I love you. I love everyone. That’s what’s killing me.”

From a Zen/Buddhist perspective, that’s the emotion of a Bodhisattva (an enlightened being who chooses to stay here out of compassion, to save all beings). You love everyone, and there are consequences of that.

Well, at least I was right

I think I managed to alienate all of my “Facebook friends” by writing about things like Zen, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and all the experiences that come from studying and practicing these things. And I also understand that alienation, because there are many “spiritual” things I’m not interested in from certain other spiritual/religious perspectives. (I’m more open than that sounds, but I have a hard time when people don’t practice what they preach, or cherry-pick a few things Jesus taught while ignoring the teachings they don‘t like.)

That being said, the things that Shinzen Young — a modern day meditation master in the U.S. — speaks about here and in this two-minute video echo everything I’ve discovered on my own and wrote about. So while, yes, I feel bad about oversharing about this sort of thing with people who don’t have similar interests on my now-defunct Facebook account, well, at least I was right. :)